Drones are helping count the dwindling koala population across Australia

Photo: Ryan Pierse/ Getty.

As koala numbers drop across the country, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology have begun to track the marsupials with drones fitted with infrared cameras.

Using computer software that distinguishes the koalas from other animals, the drones can accurately count the koalas from the sky, helping researchers to make better informed decisions about their conservation.

Research fellow at the Queensland University of Technology, Dr Sandra Johnson, says the new technology which was first trialed in bushland surrounding Australia Zoo earlier this month, has already made a difference in their conservation.

“There have been situations where people with the best intent relocated a [koala] population and it’s been disastrous… because there are these unintended consequences that we do not understand, do not see,” she told the ABC.

“[Now] we’re in a far stronger position and more likely to have positive outcomes for koalas.”

The Australian Koala Foundation estimates that there are less than 100,000 koalas left in the wild and possibly as few as 43,000.

See a video of the drone in action at the ABC.

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