Australia spends millions of dollars on threatened species recovery annually. However, research shows that many recovery strategies have not been successful in protecting threatened species in Australia. The deployment of novel technologies such as thermal imaging and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) may be effective and cost effective for wildlife monitoring. However, the performance of thermal imaging and UAVs relative to traditional methods has rarely been studied in Australia. I will talk about my Honours research where I compared the effectiveness and efficiency of thermal imaging, both handheld and mounted on an unmanned aerial vehicle with traditional spotlighting to monitor threatened critical weight range mammals in semi-arid New South Wales. It is hoped that this study can be replicated in other environments and that new technology will be used increasingly to assist the recovery of Australia’s threatened species in the near future.
Asitha Samarawickrama is an Environmental Science graduate of the University of Melbourne. He has worked as an environmental consultant and ranger at Phillip Island Nature Parks, before joining the team at Echidna Walkabout as a wildlife guide. He is also the former Victorian state coordinator for Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots Australia where he was involved in developing nature based programs for children and youth. Asitha's passion for the outdoors started at a young age when he started birdwatching in his motherland, Sri Lanka. Asitha is currently researching the effectiveness of new technologies to protect Australia's threatened mammals and hopes his findings will contribute to threatened species recovery in Australia.
Like our previous talks, this talk will be delivered online with time for questions and conversation at the end. Please register for the session and you will be emailed a link before the event.