Rewild Wainui using thermal camera and bird monitor

Rewild Wainui is a community project on the west side of Akaroa Harbour on Banks Peninsula. They are working to restore their whenua, by removing invasive plants and pests and replanting natives.

Map of the Rewild Wainui land

They borrowed a thermal camera from the Cacophony Project and found it so useful they have now got funds (courtesy of ECAN's Waitaha Action to Impact Fund) to buy their own and a bird monitor. They are planning on following the monitoring protocol suggested by the Cacophony Project. This involves moving the camera from location to location typically for a week at a time and then repeating periodically. This will give them detailed data on what predators they have, their density and how it's changing, with minimal labour required. The bird monitor will follow the camera and will give them the same information about their bird life and how that is changing as a result of their mahi.

They deployed the camera and bird monitor in the first location this week and published this Facebook post.

Rewild Wainui Facebook Post

Excited to get two new devices deployed yesterday, marking the start of the monitoring for our Waitaha Action to Impact funding. The first location is in the lower end of the “Site of Ecological Significance” which is on the southern side of the valley.

While catching pests is the ultimate goal, monitoring is important so we can determine if we’re making an impact.

The first device is a Cacophony Project thermal camera. Unlike many other monitoring tools, a thermal camera “sees” every animal so you build a definitive picture of what is there, and numbers. We’ll rotate the camera around every 10 days into a new location, helping us not only benchmark, but determine areas with the highest pest numbers. We’ll then concentrate trapping efforts in these areas.

Thermal camera at reWild Wainui

The other tool is an automatic bird monitor. This is essentially a microphone connected to a phone which “listens” and records the volume of birdsong.

Bird Monitor at reWild Wainui

Both devices connect to the internet, upload all the data, which is then is processed using AI to understand numbers (without all the manual work!). We’ll then revisit the monitoring points in a year, and see if there are fewer pests, and more birds. That’s the plan!

We’re only deploying 40 traps this year in this zone, realistically we need around 160, but by using this data we can hopefully be smarter and more focused in our efforts!

Here's a short clip of the setup (with bellbird in the background and a visit from a wood pigeon).

Initial success

They managed to catch a possum in their Flipping Timmy trap.

The bird monitor has also managed to find morepork. This was a surprise to them. They didn't realise they had morepork in the area.

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