Penguins don’t like researchers invading their colonies. When a human shows up, the penguins move to get out of the way. This puts them into the territories of other penguins nearby, causing disorganization and fighting. French scientists have spent the last five years experimenting with a little wheeled robot to monitor the colonies.
The rover is controlled remotely by a scientist with a laptop nearby. The vehicle has RFID readers to identify each penguin as it drives by based on embedded PIT tags.
The small rover works well to alleviate the stress on colonies of king penguins. Emperor penguins are much shyer, so the researchers camouflaged it with a penguin chick outfit. It's so cute it fits right in! This shows that it is possible to monitor penguins and other animals in a way that’s non-invasive and leaves them in a more natural state. To learn more go on over to IEEE Spectrum . . .
Source and Images: Nature Methods