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Our CivTech challenge to improve wildlife management has reached the next stage. 

Earlier this year we asked for help to solve two problems we face with deer management. Unfortunately, we didn't get enough interest in one of the challenges but we are excited to move forward with challenge 9.3. This looks at how we can help wildlife rangers identify the exact location of every animal larger than 5 kilograms in a specified area in real time. This will help us to improve our overall forest management and ecological restoration.

This Accelerator Stage was officially launched by Richard Lochhead MSP Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade on Wednesday 17 January 2024 at an event in Edinburgh. This next part of the project is where we work with the companies chosen to start developing their ideas and produce a Minimum Viable Product that will be unveiled at the CivTech Challenge Demo Day on 8 May 2024.

We had a record number of applications for challenge 9.3, with a diverse range of possible innovative solutions. We have chosen to take forward two companies to develop separate solutions: BH Wildlife Consultancy and 2Excel Aviation Ltd. The solutions will be developed with the assistance of our wildlife management team, and we are excited to explore how these will assist with our overall land management goals.

The solutions

BH Wildlife Consultancy

The aim of BH Wildlife Consultancy's (BHWC) solution is to provide real-time drone surveillance and detection of wildlife direct to wildlife rangers on the ground. This project will focus on the use of micro drones being operated by the wildlife rangers to obtain accurate locations of wildlife.

The use of these devices will allow the ranger to use their time efficiently by surveying the land before proceeding to stalk the area. BHWC believes this ability will greatly increase productivity and time spent searching for wildlife.

The diagram below illustrates the concept:


BHWC are currently investigating three micro drones during this stage, two made by drone manufacturers and one built in-house.

2Excel Aviation Ltd

2Excel Aviation Ltd. are looking to use their fixed-wing aircraft to provide infrared and true-colour imaging for real-time detection of wildlife and provide these locations to the wildlife rangers on the ground. The solution will focus on two interconnected products: Deer Detect and Deer Survey. 

  • Deer Detect: real-time detection of deer locations rapidly presented in map form for daily culling planning
  • Deer Survey: large-scale deer recording (from detection flights) to provide population numbers and the environmental conditions under which they were observed

Deer Detect would be integrated with our existing systems to provide the wildlife ranger on the ground with real-time location data to direct their stalk. This would reduce time spent looking for wildlife and increase their productivity. 

Deer Survey would contribute to greater accuracy in deer population models and the planning of wildlife management operations.


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