From baby bears to migrating whales – the need to minimise the impact of drones on wildlife

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As an ecologist and a drone pilot I was horrified by the recent viral video clearly showing a distressed mother bear and her cub while attempting to escape from an invasive drone.  This irresponsible use of a drone created an incredibly dangerous situation on a snow cliff that resulted in the baby bear risking serious injury and death as it desperately tried to reach its mother. Unfortunately, as drones become an increasingly embedded part of our society and have an expanding range of capabilities and applications, such issues are becoming more prevalent within even the most remote and natural areas.  […]

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Out and About with Wildlife Drones: Laura in Japan

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Last month, our science communication intern, Laura, went on a trip to Japan to study geological hazards. Read on to hear about what she got up to…   In early September, I went to Japan for a Science Communication fieldtrip with the University of Tokyo’s Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute (AORI). The focus of the trip was to investigate impact of geological hazards on Japan and how these can be communicated to the broader community. Our first week was spent mostly travelling down the east coast of Japan where we learned about the impact of earthquakes and tsunamis. This included […]

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Proposed Changes to Australian Drone Laws

Drone regulations

CASA is seeking public feedback on planned changes to drone laws in Australia. While these reforms may increase the cost of drone usage for certain users, they aim to provide greater operational flexibility to experienced drone operators and improve safety for all remote pilot license (RePL) holders through test standards and regulation. Recreational drone users are largely unaffected by the proposed reforms, as new stronger and clearer laws covering recreational use were introduced late last year. The proposed Part 101 (unmanned aircraft and rockets) Manual of Standards 2018 (CD 1807US) includes: Aeronautical knowledge examination and practical competency standards for RePL […]

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Opening Doors to Wildlife Corridors

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Animal movement studies play a key role in understanding how different species interact with their environment. They are also instrumental for identifying key wildlife corridors that are in need protection. An example of this is a study conducted by researchers from Elephants Without Borders (EWB).  They tracked the movements of 120 elephants in southern Africa using satellite tags and were able to identify a network of wildlife corridors which expanded across several African countries. They were also able to identify narrow and fragmented corridors near villages and other human settlements. From these findings, the researchers stressed the importance of establishing […]

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Wildlife Drones successfully track Swift Parrot flocks

Environmental Drones

We’re super excited that we recently managed to find 60 swift parrots on Bush Heritage Australia’s Tarcutta Hills Reserve which is the largest flock ever recorded on the reserve.  We also managed to radio-tag and track these fascinating birds despite their habit of feeding on nectar in the tops of very tall trees, as reported on ABC news today. Over the past month our cutting edge technology has enabled us to track the movements of multiple birds at the same time within the grand old growth white box and mugga ironbark woodland.  Importantly our tracking has resulted in new foraging and roosting […]

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Feral Camels are on the Move!

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A recent article by the ABC reported the appearance of feral camels making their way towards the south-east coast of Western Australia. Typically rampant in dry regions like Central Australia, these desert-dwellers have moved away from their usual stomping grounds in search for food and water. Their unusual appearance down south has not been well-received by farmers, noting the damage that the feral camels have already created on their properties. Concerns are growing in regards to the feral camel diaspora. There are approximately 1 to 1.2 million camels in Australia – making them one of the largest camel populations in […]

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Ag-Tech Launch @ ANU

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On the 24th of August, Wildlife Drones joined members from the Australian National University (ANU), CSIRO, and other Ag-Tech entrepreneurs to celebrate the launch of the new Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri-Technology (CEAT). The Centre intends on supporting the research and development of technologies that will advance the future of farming. CEAT is located in the heart of ANU’s science hub, and intends on facilitating collaborations between academics and industry stakeholders. The event was attended by ANU’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Brian Schmidt, who noted on his latest blog post that, “If more than 8 billion of us are going to live happily on our […]

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Festival of Ambitious Ideas

Innovation

We thoroughly enjoyed the ABC Radio interview this morning with Adam Shirley, Anna Pino and Siobhain Mullins talking about the wonderfully diverse group of women presenting at the Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre’s Festival of Ambitious Ideas. Lighthouse has been a great beacon of support (pun intended) for people from all walks of life looking to develop their business. The theme for this event was Female Innovators – celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit of local Canbera women and how they built their businesses. More and more women are joining the world of start-ups and it’s great to see their ideas come to life […]

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Mapping Invasive Plant Species Using Drones

Environmental Drones

Due to their isolation from mainland civilisation, tropical islands have grown to become rich in biodiversity. However, this isolation has made them particularly vulnerable to the ever-changing world we live in today. One major issue that these islands are facing is the presence of invasive plant species that are threatening the existence of native populations through competition for resources. Past attempts to map and monitor the presence of native and non-native vegetation on remote islands have been fraught with challenges. This is likely due to the high cost required to fly aircraft through these zones or to even generate high-quality […]

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