Tuesday 27 July 2021

Australians use thermal imaging cameras and rifles to conserve bilby and kowari populations

It is reported that bilby and kowari populations in Queensland's outback are increasing to the delight of conservationists thanks to a more efficient feral cat control programme which includes using thermal imaging cameras and, I presume, rifles to kill them. Both these animals are marsupials and they've spotted them in greater numbers this year. The bilby is endangered. The Department of Environment and Science recorded 471 bilbies at Astrebla Downs National Park.

A bilby in Currawinya National Park makes its way to its burrow
A bilby in Currawinya National Park makes its way to its burrow. Photo: Cassandra Arkinstall

They also spotted a record 14 kowaris. This is a small carnivorous desert marsupial regarded as vulnerable in terms of conservation in Queensland.

They put the increasing population numbers down to better control of feral cats. The Department said that they have removed more than 3,000 feral cats from the park since 2013. As mentioned in the title, they use thermal imaging cameras rather than spotlights to pick out the cats. 

This has made killing them far more efficient. The news report does not tell us how they kill the cats but it has to be by shooting. If they're using thermal imaging cameras to spot them then the next step is to shoot them. Of course, it doesn't matter how they kill them and one of the most common ways is poisoning. The next most efficient method of shooting. It is raw slaughter. The issue of causing pain and suffering is irrelevant.

Apparently, the cats got used to spotlights. They learned to avoid them as they were associated with death, but thermal imaging has outfoxed them. A senior ranger, Barry Nolan, said: "Once the earth loses its heat that it got from the sun during the day, anything that provides body heat glows quite well under thermal technology, even if it's behind vegetation and stuff."

The video shows the bilby:

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