A forestry company in Victoria, Australia, is using drones and thermal cameras to spot koalas before trees are cut down or controlled burns take place.

Hazelwood Forestry, in Latrobe Valley is regularly tasked with cutting down Hancock Victoria Plantations’ eucalyptus and pine trees. One complication is that carelessly harvesting – which some companies might go ahead and do – puts native koalas in danger.

drones used for koala conservation thermal imaging

Well hidden among the pine tree canopy, they can be difficult to spot from below.

“We are really ramping up how to manage and protect them in forestry operations,” said Eloise Cluning, who operates the Hazelwood North company with husband Russell and was speaking to the Latrobe Valley Express.

“Koala spotting – we do it every day before that day’s harvest. We actually capture and translocate koalas under a permit from DELWP,” Cluning said, during a recent seminar on the use of drones in forestry with the Institute of Foresters of Australia.