While much of the world has shifted its attention away from Australia’s summer of fires, there is still work to be done, including checking the Kosciuszko National Park (KNP) for sick or injured wildlife. The National Parks and Wildlife Service says they have approved a proposal to use a thermal imaging drone, thanks to a partnership between Westpac and WIRES, to check for wildlife in and around Southern Ranges national parks, including KNP.
Westpac has previously partnered with Surf Life Saving Australia to launch a program using 51 drones to spot sharks and assist with ocean rescues. In a statement, Westpac indicated that the drones have been borrowed from the ‘Little Ripper’ lifesaver program to monitor burned bushland and search for animals.
A spokesman for National Parks said the same technique has been used elsewhere in the state and is coming to the Snowy Valleys.
Rangers say they have already been observing populations of native animals in the parks since the fires. Although the populations have been impacted, “it is thought they will recover.”
In an emailed statement, the National Parks spokesman said “fire is a natural part of the Australian landscape and these landscapes and ecosystems have evolved to cope with and respond to fire.” He further asked concerned community members to “contact their local wildlife rescue group to obtain the relevant training to assist in the care and rehabilitation of sick and injured native animals.”