Monkeys x Drones = Japanese innovation

drones_monkeyYou’ve probably seen photos of those cute Japanese snow monkeys (macaques) that sit with people in hot springs during the winter. While we’ve typically seen the cute side of these furry critters that huddle together up together to conserve body heat, there’s also a darker side. To Japanese farmers, they are seen as menacing creatures who destroy crops and devour figs, mandarin oranges, and other fruits and vegetables. Last year alone resulted in the loss of over $20k USD!

Farmers have tried different approaches to fight the monkey villains; from setting bird traps (not sure what they were thinking) to buying vicious guard dogs who end up losing fights to, or sometimes befriending our strong primate ancestors.

Where there are big problems, there are big opportunities for creativity. Perhaps farmers should rent a drone from us?

With a little bit of ingenuity— and perhaps a few Johnnie Walker whiskeys — farmers have decided to stand up for their rights and take matters into their own hands. Farmers in Oita prefecture Japan have started strapping fake life-size monkeys to drones, equipped with audio devices that make screeching monkey noises, and fly them over heard their crops to ward off the preying monkey pests.

They’ve tried it 20 times already… and it’s working. They’ll continue experimenting with the best size of monkey dolls and noises to optimize for effectiveness. If the projects kicks off then we could start seeing a wave of flying monkey drones across Japanese farms in the near future.

A once hopeless situation has been solved again, thanks again to the accessibility of drone tech and our imaginations. Stay tuned for more innovation, coming soon.


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