Drones to save endangered species in Australia - Geeko
Australia faced catastrophic fires a few months ago. Animals have seen a large part of their territory destroyed and several species are today in danger of disappearing. In particular, koalas. About 30% were killed on the north coast of the state of New South Wales.
The first difficulty in helping them remains the collection of precise data on the populations of koala, "in burned and unburned areas", we can read on phys.org. An estimate has nearly 36,000 koalas in the state of New South Wales. This estimate is not entirely reliable according to a survey.
A group of experts therefore examined the question. The use of thermal drones would allow a more efficient method but also very reduced costs. With the traditional method, on foot, a koala is found every seven hours. The thermal drone allows him to locate one every two hours on average. During a flight, the machine captures thermal video recordings. It collects GPS data and takes detailed images, explains the teams on The Conversation.
A night protocol
The drones had already been used during fires: to assess the damage and help detection dogs find koalas. The peculiarity of this protocol is that it makes it possible to search for them at night, a very favorable time to find koalas. If a koala is detected, a check is made by a ground observer.
The use of these drones has no interest in a recently burned area, since it will still be hot. But the application can be optimal for the weeks or months following the fires. Obviously, it's not just koalas that emit heat. Opossums, wallabies and birds have also been detected.
Fires in Australia: Figures for an unprecedented environmental disaster
Australia: Koala could disappear from the south of the country by 2050
- Animal protection