Pest animals in Australia cost communities and primary producers billions each year and it can often feel like it is running away on us (literally)! The Centre for Invasive Species Solutions estimates Feral Deer and Feral Pigs cost us $91 Million and $50 Billion respectively. There is certainly government focus in this space with the NSW government releasing that it was providing $13 million to tackle the feral pig problem alone which will assist with ramping up current efforts. Land managers are looking very closely too! With much of Australia heading into an anticipated dry period many are making plans around the available feed and water resources on their properties and trying to work out next steps.
This is where Bralca comes in. We can assist land managers (both government based and private) to plan targeted control programs aimed at reducing pest animals. It is now possible to map large sections of the landscape to quantify pest animal numbers and get strategic about the selected controls that will be used.
The video below shows footage taken at 10pm at night, highlighting the quality of thermal images that can be obtained. Look closely at the kangaroos and you will see that they are continuing to graze and move about undisturbed. That is because the drones used by Bralca for this purpose can not be heard by them, or other animals in the area. This is an important advancement because traditional methods disturb and scatter animals making it challenging to gain an accurate measure on the location and number of animals. Knowing the natural movements of animals before and after control enables the creation of far more effective control programs.
Note that all of the flight details are recorded. This includes the GPS location of the animal (T. Lat and T.Lon) as well as the direction of the camera, date, time, wind speeds, location and animals as they are counted. Best of all, these maps are repeatable. Once a map is plotted and the flight paths determined, a land manager can run the same map as many times as their control program requires so they can continue to monitor and manage pest animal numbers and the effectiveness of the controls they have put in place.
The system, developed and operated by Bralca, provides accurate reporting of population numbers; critical to both private land holders and state owned land managers. The reports that are produced allow land managers to be strategic in their control programs and in creating preparedness plans to be ready to act during seasonal downturns and in the case of a bio security outbreak.
By: Fiona Watts
Bralca.com: increasing choice through knowledge
 Press Release by The Premier and Minister for Agriculture – 18th July 2023 https://www.nsw.gov.au/media-releases/13-million-to-tackle-feral-pig-problem