Wilderness Society to use drones to raise awareness of deforestation

By AG Staff January 25, 2017
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An environmental organisation hopes to raise $30,000 to buy a fleet of drones to expose the scale of land clearing in Australia.

THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY, an Australian environmental advocacy organisation, has launched a crowd-funding campaign to help buy a fleet of drones to film land-clearing across Australia.

The organisation aims to raise $30,000 to fund drones in Australia’s three most aggressive land-clearing states – New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland – to expose the scale of deforestation to the public.

According to The Wilderness Society, Queensland alone cleared more than 850,000ha of land in the past three years, equal to an area the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground every three minutes.

The organisation has previously used helicopter footage such as in the video above to raise awareness of the issue, but hopes to buy a fleet of Sky Scout drones which are more affordable and agile.

“Using technology, both in raising the funds and in deploying the drones, is the best way we can help arm journalists, decision makers and local communities with a more accurate picture of what’s going on,” said Jessica Panegyres, The Wilderness Society’s National Nature Campaigner.

“We need to get these drones up into the air to show the public that devastation usually associated with places like the Amazon is happening in our own back yard,” she said.

They estimate it will cost $9,191 to deploy one drone in the field for six months.

The crowd-funding campaign will be hosted on Pozible and closes on 10 February. Donors of $25 or more can also help name the drones.