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How Drones are Saving Koalas

In recent times, the wildfires devastating the same area of Australia have been anything but controlled. And sadly, those same methods have been required as part of a search and rescue initiative involving Victoria’s koala population.

A photo gallery published in today’s Guardian shows how DJI equipment is being used by Victoria Police to track down koalas in the aftermath of the fires. Many of the bears have suffered serious burns and require veterinary treatment.

Habitats across the state of Victoria have been completely or partially destroyed, so work is underway to rehome koalas into nearby reserves. The only trouble is, detecting bears among the canopy – even when large areas of forest have been wiped out by bushfires – is extremely difficult.

Ironically, the solution relies on the same element that caused all of this destruction in the first place: heat. Police and wildlife officers are using drones and thermal cameras to detect the heat signatures of the surviving koalas.

A member of the Victorian police drone unit inspects an image. The drones were used for visual searching and assessment of the koalas to determine if further healthcare was required.

Once the bears are located, the team on the ground are using the drone to get a closer look and see if medical attention is required. If the bears are in need of assistance, the team are using cherry pickers to fetch them down. It looks as though DJI can add koala search and rescue to the list of applications.

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