The WildSeek Project brings together leading environmental organisations and university researchers to create an innovative drone solution for surveying koala populations. Landcare Australia, WIRES and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) are supporting local landcare and community environment groups with training, equipment and scientific support to drive local research activity.

By creating five Community Hubs across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, the WildSeek Project is collecting koala population information that will provide significant insights into koalas in disaster affected areas, such as those impacted by the Black Summer bushfire, as well as much needed baseline population information for at-risk habitats.

With a background in conservation biology, Katie Selhorst joined Landcare Australia as coordinator of the WildSeek project and is also the Chief Drone Pilot. Katie is assisting the WildSeek Community Hubs with a myriad of activities including navigating the complexity of Australian airspace regulations, how to obtain required certifications, support with flight planning, site prioritization and wildlife research approvals.

QUT has been instrumental in preparing the Community Hubs for their drone flights by hosting a three-day workshop in Brisbane. Outlining the survey methodology and talking everything drones and wildlife, the workshop was an excellent opportunity for all Community Hubs to come together and share their experiences and learnings.

The Community Hubs are working together with local First Nations organisations, landcare groups, local community networks, and government organisations to identify and survey sites of local significance for people and koalas. The project is also working with the National Koala Monitoring Program.


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