Video footage of infrared koala survey on Kangaroo Island after bushfire

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia has released a short snippet of video from its high-tech koala count on Kangaroo Island.

With estimates as many as 45,000 koalas were killed on the Island in the summer's bushfires, the state government is attempting to determine how many koalas remain on KI.

A still image of the infrared drone footage over Kangaroo Island forests with koalas showing up as white dots.

A still image of the infrared drone footage over Kangaroo Island forests with koalas showing up as white dots.

Drone operators from contractor Airborne Data Acquisition wrapped up their survey of known koala sites on the night of Wednesday, June 24.

Surveys have taken place between midnight and 6.30am since June 1 detecting the thermal signature of koalas.

The drones flew approximately 30 metres above the tree canopy, using on-board thermal cameras to collect data on koalas.

The raw data from the drone surveys will now be sent to researchers at Queensland University of Technology, who will use artificial intelligence to analyse it.

QUT ecologist Associate Professor Grant Hamilton expects to have a final count in a few weeks.

The remains of a koala in a bluegum plantation on Kangaroo Island destroyed by fire in January 2020.

The remains of a koala in a bluegum plantation on Kangaroo Island destroyed by fire in January 2020.

Koalas were introduced the Kangaroo Island in the 1920s but their numbers exploded in recent years as bluegum plantation timber matured.

The most recent estimate as of 2019 was that were at least 50,000 koalas on Kangaroo Island.

Almost all the plantations were destroyed in the December and January fires, and hence thousands of koalas that lived in the plantations were incinerated.

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