Australia Using AI- Enabled Drones To Protect Koalas



Koalas are facing a myriad of existential threats. Land development and massive brushfires have joined to decrease the koala habitat, thus the koala population. Rising to the occasion is a team using AI (artificial intelligence) to monitor and track these animals.

Quick Facts

Koalas are actually marsupials, not bears at all [1]. The only continent they live on is Australia. Their main diet is eucalyptus leaves. And koalas also sleep up to 18 hours a day, primarily at night because they are nocturnal.

What Is The Problem?

Koalas exist only in Australia. Each koala needs about 100 trees. They have a particular diet and can not eat just anything. Australia did have a drought. Last year much of the country experienced terrible brushfires. This decreased their living territories.

Who Is Helping?

A team of experts from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) [2] is working to keep the koala from getting extinct. Researchers use a number of methods to determine the number of koalas in Australia. To increase their count numbers and accuracy, the team is using drones. This has been a learning experience. Grant Hamilton, from QUT who leads the research, said,

Early on, it [drone] was getting all kinds of false positives. So, it would call kangaroos a koala. It would call people koalas. It would even call a hot car engine a koala.

The team developed their own stockpile of koala photos to help the drone. Now, these drones can cover more in two hours what a person would cover in a day. Counting the koalas is the first step in managing their population. And Australian experts are on their way to keep koalas from becoming extinct.


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