Thursday, 13 June 2013

Operation WOW...Watching Our Wildlife.

  Australian wildlife is becoming increasingly threatened due to loss of habitat, in fact this country has the highest extinction rate in the world! Most people are unaware of the amazing biodiversity that still exists-even in our suburbs, because many species are nocturnal and hard to observe.  Volunteers working to restore the Mermaid Pool (and its bushland surrounds) at Manly Vale in Sydney, have come up with a solution. They are producing nesting boxes with inbuilt cameras which will provide homes for wildlife (acting as surrogate tree hollows) and help provide the community with knowledge of their local species. 

 The nesting boxes will be located in areas of remnant bushland and some will be donated to nearby schools and businesses. Vision from inside the boxes will be transmitted live via the internet, using high tech telemetry, to provide an amazing educational and conservation tool.

  The impact will be to not only boost the breeding capability for possums, birds and micro bats but also give local residents and students an amazing insight into the wildlife that exists in their area. With more knowledge and empathy will, hopefully, come a desire to help protect wildlife and habitat. Biodiversity is disappearing around the globe and city dwellers often don't care because they have become estranged from the beauty of nature...here is a wonderful opportunity to get the urban population to reconnect! The local volunteer environment group (Save Manly Dam Catchment Committee) is overseeing this project and specialist nesting boxes are being made by retired volunteers at the "Men's Shed".   
 
  IT expert, Paul, is putting the technical aspects of the project together:- Based on the Raspberry Pi single-board-computer and the new Raspberry Pi micro camera, video and images will be shared via the world wide web. This will include real time views of the site and activities within the new nesting boxes. Nesting box in addition to a Raspberry Pi computer will be connected to a Mesh wireless network which connects to the internet. Additionally each box will be powered by a dry-cell battery that is charged via photo voltaic solar collectors. As many of the residents are nocturnal, they will illuminated their nesting boxes with infra Red which the cameras pick will up as monochrome images.

The nesting boxes will be delivered to the Mermaid Pool at 12 noon on June 22nd 2013. Meet outside the UNSW Water Laboratory gates, Western corner of King St, Manly Vale.  Martyn Robinson from the Australian Museum will also be on hand to talk about local ecology.
An orphaned Ringtail Possum