A helicopter using a thermal imaging camera will be flying low over the Central Tablelands over the next month or so, searching for feral pigs, wild deer and feral goats.
"This is the first time this technology has been used in the Central Tablelands to detect pests," says Kellie Arnall, Senior Biosecurity Officer with Central Tablelands Local Land Services.
The primary targets for the survey are feral pigs, goats and wild deer, which have been identified as priority pests in the Central Tablelands Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plan.
"The information we collect from the thermal imaging surveys will help us determine the baseline level of pest animal activity in this region."
"The data will also assist with the development of local feral pest control plans when we're working with landholders, particularly to monitor and control wild deer."
The survey images will be collected at low levels, less than 100 meters from the ground. The flights will take place in daylight hours during periods of low light, generally in the early morning and late afternoon, or on overcast days.
"The early morning or late afternoon timing is important because we want to detect the heat from animals, rather than picking up warmth from other objects that have been heated by the sun," says Ms Arnall.
"We anticipate the surveys could take up to a month to complete, weather permitting."
The thermal imaging survey flights will cover 250,000 hectares across the Central Tablelands region including locations near Orange, Molong, Cumnock, Eugowra, Cudal, Canowindra, Cowra, Woodstock, Blayney and Oberon. A map detailing the thermal imaging survey area can be found on the Central Tablelands Local Land Services website.
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