The NTFF sees more and more wildlife films featuring infra-red or thermal imaging footage every year. Our sponsor-partner FLIR is a worldwide leader in thermal imaging technology and their cameras are being used to combat Rhino poaching in Africa to whale tracking in partnership with the Massachusetts-based Ocean Alliance. OA has been using a unique and innovative thermal imaging-equipped research drone with a series of petri dishes that collect whale blow, or, snot. Cleverly named the ‘SnotBot,’ this modified drone is equipped with a FLIR Vue Pro thermal imaging camera and is flown into the blow from whales to collect samples. The whale blow collected by SnotBot contains DNA, micro biomes, pregnancy hormones, and stress hormones and helps researchers to better understand these massive mammals. Interestingly, with the Vue Pro on the aircraft, the team was also able to detect hotspots on the whales’ bodies, and observe how they bring cool water to the surface with their tail flukes while swimming. Using small drones equipped with both thermal and visible cameras allows Ocean Alliance researchers to collect comparative data without harming or disturbing the animals in their natural habitats. Learn more about the SnotBot and how FLIR is used on the Ocean Alliance website and

Photos Courtesy of Ocean Alliance.

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