Thermal imaging survey

Public notification: Autumn 2020 thermal imaging survey for pest animals


A helicopter equipped with high tech infra-red thermal imaging technology will be scanning pockets of the Central Tablelands for feral pests starting on Saturday 16 May.

Central Tablelands Local Land Services has contracted a chopper fitted out with specially designed equipment, to search out feral pigs, foxes, wild deer and wild dogs hiding out in rugged terrain. The Squirrel Helicopter will fly at no lower than 220 feet.

Local Land Services Senior Biosecurity Officer, Kristy Bennetts, advises four key areas are being targeted in the pest species survey, Gooloogong, Bowan Park, Freemantle and Duckmaloi. The proposed flight map will be posted online on the Local Land Services website at:

“This year we’ll be scanning across a total area of around 155,000 hectares on the lookout for pest animal species, from 16 May through to the end of the month,” said Ms Bennetts.

“Pest animals predate on native species and livestock, compete for feed and water, spread disease and damage the environment, and this survey will help us to identify population hot spots, and gives us the information we need to prioritise field work control options.”

Monitoring carried out in 2019 successfully detected large mobs of feral deer in the Vittoria area. The deer were competing for feed during the drought as well as damaging fences, and were increasingly likely to become a serious road safety hazard on the highway between Bathurst and Orange.

The data from the 2019 thermal imaging survey was used to develop a wild deer management program undertaken in March this year that successfully removed more than six hundred deer from the landscape.

“A lot of the country scanned in these type of projects is difficult to access and land owners are sometimes unaware of just how large the numbers of feral deer, pigs and other pests has grown,” said Ms Bennetts.

“The thermal image monitoring gives us very accurate and detailed information that we can then use to plan strategic management options in collaboration with the landholders.”

Letters have been posted out to alert landholders with properties that will be under the survey flight path.

“We want to let people know why the chopper is flying, and explain that this project is part of our ongoing work to reduce the damaging impact of feral pigs, deer, foxes, and wild dogs on both agriculture and the environment,” said Ms Bennetts.

Landholders with concerns about the planned flights are asked to contact the Central Tablelands Local Land Services biosecurity team on 1300 795 299.

Click here to view a map of planned bait lines in the program.

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