pest management

Drone to kill unwanted insurgents on New Zealand soil

And I’m not joking

Scott Sambell and his dog Millie are finding that keeping Glenfern Sanctuary pest-free can be hard work.

The 240 hectare peninsula is cordoned off by a pest-proof fence to protect native wildlife, but that doesn’t stop a handful of unwanted predators making their way in every year.

“We’ve got over 1000 monitoring stations on here which you try and get to at least once a month,” says Mr Sambell, who manages the sanctuary.

That means if a predator is detected, it could have up to a month’s headstart to get away from Mr Sambell’s team.

“The whole point of this is that we just don’t know what is going out there, and it’s crazy that with all this technology that we’ve got, why can’t we know these things?”

Mr Sambell vented his frustration to inventor Gian Badraun, who’s come up with the Trap Minder, a monitoring system that sends instant alerts by email, text, a computer program or smartphone app the instant a pest is detected.

That means biosecurity workers can act immediately to eradicate the pest, but soon they may not even need to move a muscle.

Eventually the Trap Minder system will communicate directly with a drone which could be set to automatically fly to the GPS coordinates of the incursion.

On one level, that’s so cool.  Yet on another, how do we stop people from implementing these on their own properties?  In their own gardens?  And will they know now to shoot at the kid that’s coming over the fence  just to get his tennis ball back?

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