Integrating Hi-Res Thermal Drones into Aerial Pest destruction Programs

  • greymanadmin
  • March 23, 2022

How Thermal Drone Tech is reducing the cost of Feral pigs programs Greyman Ops Numerous significant rain events over the past 3 years are resulting a surge in populations of feral pigs, that are wreaking havoc over large swathes of grazing and growing country across Queensland. Land owners and managers are struggling to keep up with the numbers, even with the help of recreational hunters & shooters.  With up to 12 piglets per sow, and breeding every 6 months in some cases, the problem is exploding. While ground trapping, baiting and shooting is often the most cost effective, the numbers of pigs destroyed is usually not greater that 15-20 at a time – often less than 10, depending on the skills and experience of the hunters. Over large areas, aerial pig destruction programs are the most effective at controlling feral pig populations, however the cost of helicopters and shooters can be high, however the cost per pig is usually <$40, depending on the total numbers taken. One technology that is proving particularly effective in these programs are commercial grade thermal drones. Thermal drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) equipped with highly sensitive thermal imaging cameras that can detect heat signatures from animals on the ground from 500 meters away. At Greyman Ops, we are using high resolution thermal drones, operated by licensed and experienced UAV pilots are proving to be a valuable tool in the fight against wild pigs, and here's why: Firstly, thermal drones can cover large areas of land quickly and efficiently. With their high speed and agility, flight times of up to 45 minutes, thermal drones can easily navigate rough terrain and densely wooded areas, making them an ideal tool for monitoring and detecting feral pig populations in large and remote areas. By flying over large areas of land, thermal drones can identify pig hotspots and help contractors to prioritize their control efforts, saving time and resources. Secondly, thermal drones can detect pigs that are hiding under foliage, in rivers & creeks or in dense vegetation from above. This is particularly advantageous in areas where wild pigs are known to be present but are difficult to locate. The thermal cameras on these drones can detect the heat signatures of pigs, even in areas with heavy tree cover, making it easier to locate and control these animals. Thirdly, thermal drones are non-invasive and non-destructive. This means that they can be used without causing harm to the environment or other animals. Unlike traditional methods of pig control, such as hunting or trapping, thermal drones do not disturb the natural habitat of other animals or cause damage to the ecosystem. Finally, thermal drones are cost-effective. While the initial cost of purchasing and setting up a thermal drone program is high, the reduced costs of delivering aerial surveillance and targeting, with the drone to find pigs, before sending helicopter to dispatch, is significant. By using thermal drones to locate and monitor pig populations, farmers and landowners can focus their control efforts more effectively, reducing the need for costly and time-consuming methods such as trapping or hunting. We (Greyman Ops) have been receiving strong interest in our drone services, especially as they enable significantly lower cost programs than chopper-based programs. Thermal drones are proving to be a valuable tool in the fight against wild pigs. They offer a fast, efficient, non-invasive and cost-effective way of locating and monitoring pig populations, allowing us prioritize control efforts and reduce the damage caused by these animals. Please get in touch with Greyman Ops if you have any questions about how new tech can be used to manage biosecurity risks and feral animal problems in your region.