Saturday, February 6, 2016

Drones, dogs helping battle invasive species in B.C.

A dog named Diesel and handler Heather McCubbin inspect a boat hull for invasive species. 
By: Tamsyn Burgmann The Canadian Press,
    RICHMOND, B.C.—Field technicians on the hunt for invasive species used to go on foot, by canoe or relied on satellite photographs taken from outer space.
   But an ecologist who dispatched a drone to detect invaders in a British Columbia wildlife area is now recommending more remote-controlled robots do the difficult work.
   “With a drone we’re looking at pixel sizes that are teeny tiny. The resolution is amazing. You can literally zoom in and see all the petals on that flower,” said Catherine Tarasoff, an adjunct professor at Thompson Rivers University.
   “I’ve gotten past the steep learning curve and see the unlimited possibilities.”
Tarasoff tried out the unmanned aerial technology last June at the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, an internationally protected wetland in south-central B.C.
   The successful experiment was one of several cutting-edge advancements showcased in Richmond, B.C., on Tuesday in the ongoing battle against invasive species. More than 150 specialists from across the province are gathered for three days to discuss emerging issues and learn about the latest techniques to apply in their own regions.
   “There’s way more technology involved than there used to be,” said Gail Wallin, executive director of the Invasive Species Council of B.C., which is hosting the forum. “We’re in a whole new world now.”...Continue reading...

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