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Thermal drone count of Isle of Man Wallabies

At the start of this year BH Wildlife Consultancy had the unique opportunity to count the Red necked wallaby population on the Isle of Man for the Manx Wildlife Trust. Whilst counts had been attempted before, this was the first time using thermal imaging drones to count how many wallabies were living on the Isle of Man and to get an insight in to their movements in and around the Ballaugh Curraugh.

We conducted two surveys on consecutive nights in the Ballaugh Curraugh and immediate surrounding area (totalling approximately 420 hectares) and the findings were really astonishing. There was little discrepancy between the numbers counted on each night. With the first night having 563 wallabies detected and the second night having 572 wallabies being detected.

The same flight points were used each night and we found that most of the groups of wallabies were in the same areas as we picked up the night before. This suggested that they were very habitual in the way they utilised grazing pastures. The surveys also showed how nocturnal the population was with most wallabies counted on the fields at night whereas during the day they reside in the woods and are rarely seen in any number.

From start to finish it has really been a fascinating project to be involved with and we hope to do further studies with Manx Wildlife Trust in the future to find out more about this unique population.

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