Ready to Launch!
Mid Coast 2 Tops Landcare (MC2T) has recently recruited our newest team members, in the form of our WildSeek Drone Pilots! Jess and Shaun, both Mid Coast community members and keen landcarers, are currently undergoing training to receive their Remote Pilot Licenses, allowing them to deliver our new koala monitoring program, WildSeek. This program will be managed by MC2T as a community hub in partnership with Landcare Australia, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), WIRES, and with support from MidCoast Council. More information about the wider program can be found here: https://landcareaustralia.org.au/the-wildseek-project/
This exciting program enables us to participate in the implementation of a new technology to help conserve and protect wildlife on the east coast of Australia. In addition, we are thrilled to be able to offer up-skilling and valuable training opportunities to our community members, increasing our local capacity to respond to future challenges for local wildlife. While the project’s initial focus is on identifying koalas, it has the potential to expand the program to include multiple species including kangaroos, wallabies, and wombats.
WildSeek will utilise specially equipped drones and artificial intelligence software, to detect canopy dwelling wildlife in hard to monitor places. The data analysis and processing will be done by our partners at QUT.
Between our two pilots and community volunteers, we will monitor 500 hectares, over approx 60 flight hours, per year, for three years. The program fully funds two members of our community to receive a Remote Pilot License, as well as attendance at a Support and Strategy workshop with QUT. That is training in survey standards, data management and wildlife ethics training, as well as working through a range of on-ground scenarios.
As with all our programs, we could not deliver it without active participation from the wider Mid Coast community. If you are keen to be involved, there are a couple ways you can! In months to come we will be seeking community volunteers to assist with our flights, which cannot happen without a team of volunteers with our pilots each flight. In addition to these volunteers, we are seeking landholders with suitable vegetation for monitoring. Sites that are difficult to monitor by other methods, or that represent data gaps in our understanding of koala populations are of particular interest. If either of these interest you, please submit your interest via the link above and we will be in touch in the coming months.