Assessing the utility of aerial imaging and remotely piloted aircraft for assessing the abundance and measuring body temperature in enclosed feral pigs in dry season, Northern Territory

Project: Research

Project Details

Description

The project will replicate the RPAS component of the Biosecurity Innovation Program (BIP)-funded project ID: 202049 (“Enhancing surveillance of the northern Australian feral pig population for African swine fever and other high impact pests and diseases”) during the northern dry season (May/June), to improve the robustness of findings from that component of that project. Equipment purchased from the BIP project will be used, so there is no need for further equipment purchases.

More specifically, the project will involve data collection both day and night in the same controlled area of operation in the Northern Territory (Katherine Campus, Charles Darwin University) and using the same commercial off the shelf (COTS) drone platform and sensor capabilities as used in the BIP-funded project.

Feral pigs will be captured by baited trap on the Charles Darwin University farm near Katherine and placed in a 22 Acre pig-proof fenced area comprising mixed woodland . Prior to release each pig will be affixed with a GPS-based satellite collar with skin and ambient temperature sensors. After sufficient acclimatisation, a fixed-wing drone will be flown over the area at set times to undertake thermal and optical recording (RGB).

The thermal and RGB images will be interrogated to identify how many of the collared pigs are not detected in the thermal imagery from each flight pass. By knowing the location of each pig within the enclosure it will also be possible to identify heat signatures that are not thermal pigs (Wallabies, termite mounts, bare ground). This data will be able to determine the optimum time of the data to undertake aerial thermal surveys for feral pigs. The results will be integrated and compared with the wet season study undertaken in February 2021.
Short titleFeral Pigs
StatusActive
Effective start/end date8/03/2230/06/22

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