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Ecosure trials unmanned aerial vehicles for wildlife dispersal

Ecosure recently trialled the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to disperse Australian white ibis from a landfill in Southeast Queensland. Two types of UAVs were trialled, along with a bird squawker and strobe lights which were tested as scaring stimuli. Once deployed, the drones slowly approached the target birds from above, moving incrementally closer until they dispersed or until the UAV reached within 3 meters of the flock. Three bird species were present at the trial and all responded differently to the UAV. The ibis sighted and responded to the UAV early on (20m away) and dispersed more than 200m away; however, they returned to the site within 5-15 minutes. Silver gulls at the landfill were unbothered by the presence of the drone, despite flashing strobe lights or noise wailing through the speakers. A black kite was observed circling above with curiosity but was not scared by the presence of the drone. Given the limited and temporary dispersal of ibis in response to the UAV, it is unlikely to be incorporated into current ibis management and dispersal projects. However, UAVs could provide an effective way of monitoring wildlife numbers and congregations on landfills in the future.

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UAV trial photos

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