Drones Being Deployed to Track, Save Koalas in Australia

Australia’s Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is deploying drones in a new effort to help protect koalas in southeast Queensland.

According to the university, the state government has announced a funding boost for the koala conservation effort. The two-year project will be led by Dr. Grant Hamilton from QUT’s Science and Engineering Faculty, who says the technology will provide a survey method for detecting koalas and estimating their numbers.

“The primary emphasis of this project is on the ecology of koala conservation, and we are using drones and automated imaging technology as tools to assist,” he says. “Through the use of drones, we will be able to better locate our native fauna and to get more accurate estimates of their abundance that we need to make effective conservation decisions.

“Understanding the abundance of a species in an area is fundamental to the management of that species – and the more regularly and accurately you can monitor the health of the population, the better.”

The project will combine data analytics and automated identification, says QUT. Also joining the project is Dr. Simon Denman from QUT’s School of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Vision and Signal Processing.

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