(AUSTRALIA)

An indigenous ranger group in Australia is going to use drones to inspect one of the world’s most biodiverse areas.

The Yuku Baja Muliku Rangers – based in the Queensland area of Australia – have been granted Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) certification to fly drones for environmental inspection purposes over a  22,500 hectares area, some of which it has never seen before. The initiative is being supported by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

“A drone carrying a small camera will enable rangers to view areas they have never seen before due to inaccessible terrain, as well as offshore islands and coral reefs,” explained Andrew Denzin Marine Park Authority Indigenous Partnerships project manager and drone pilot. “It will also allow them to map their country in greater detail and monitor any changes over time. Aerial photographs can identify features as small as individual mangroves and coral colonies.”

Mick Hale, Yuku Baja Muliku Rangers operations manager, added: “The potential of this technology really excites us. We foresee using drones in many aspects of our land and sea country management.”

Drones are supporting a number of sectors to improve their operational capabilities, often in critical situations. A report in March claimed civilian drones have saved the lives of at least 59 people worldwide since 2013

In Australia they are also being used to spot killer sharks by providing a more robust early warning system.