A helicopter equipped with observers and a thermal camera will fly over Kangaroo Island next week to count kangaroos and wallabies.
The Department for Environment and Water is conducting the survey to obtain accurate estimates of the animals’ populations after the extensive bushfires on the island early this year.
Manager Parks and Wildlife, Mike Greig, said the helicopter would run during the day from 31 August to 4 September, weather permitting.
“It will be flying low-level transects across the width and length of the island,” he said.
“Residents can be assured that the pilot will take care to avoid houses and stock and to adhere to all Civil Aviation Safety Authority requirements.”
Kangaroo Island was included for the first time in the state’s commercial kangaroo harvest area in January but the harvest was suspended due to the bushfires.
“It is important to obtain accurate kangaroo and wallaby population estimates so we can understand the effect of the fires on both species before we consider re-opening Kangaroo Island to commercial harvesting,” Mr Greig said.
“The commercial harvest must not threaten the conservation status of any species, which is why we need accurate estimates.”
Commercial harvesting of kangaroos and wallabies is highly regulated and sustainable harvest quotas are set each year based on the results of population surveys.
The South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2020-2024 was developed in consultation with conservation and animal welfare groups, land managers, regulatory and peak bodies, the kangaroo industry and the community.
Mr Greig said it would be the first time a helicopter and thermal camera had been used in the count on Kangaroo Island.