Wildlife & Wild Places

Third Day in the Field, First Crash

The San Pedro River is a string of life that connects the forests of the high parts of the Sierra Madre in Durango and Nayarit with the marine ecosystems of the Islas Marias, through the flow of nutrients that fertilize the mangrove forests, sea grasses, estuaries, and lagoons in the natural protected area of Marismas Nacionales (Sinaloa-Nayarit).

Jaime and I started our trip in the Pine forest ecosystems.We wanted to describe these high lands, and the canyons where the freshwater starts its magnificent journey all along the watershed. One of the most important tools to document our findings is a small quadcopter that we use to take aerial footage in each of the stations that we chose previous to our trip. So far this technique has been a success for our objectives. However, in our third day of working, I was driving the quadcopter to explore a canyon in Tres Molinos, Durango, when a strong winds coming from opposite directions hit the device and I lost control of it. Fortunately, the quadcopter got trapped into the branches of a tall tree. One of the local persons helped us to recover the device.

We lost two blades, but we will be able to continue using the device in the next stations of our expedition. Soon, we will post other videos with this great aerial technique.

Photo by Jaime Rojo

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Winner of the 2012 Photo Contest

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Octavio Aburto is a National Geographic WAITT grantee embarking upon an expedition to document and preserve the last untamed Mexican River: The San Pedro Mezquital.

As a research scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), and a professional photographer associated with the International League of Conservation Photographers, Octavio has been photographing marine ecosystems off the coastal waters of Mexico since 1994. His photographs have been used to illustrate outreach publications about the conservation of marine habitats, Marine Protected Areas, and commercially important species and their fisheries. As a scientist Octavio’s research has focused on mangrove ecosystem services, marine reserves, and commercially exploited marine species and their fisheries off the shores of Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica and the U.S. Octavio obtained his PhD at the Center of Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at SIO, and was awarded the Jean Fort Award by the University of California, San Diego, for his significant contribution on an issue of public concern through his doctoral research.

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