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Bay Area Filmmaker Uses Tech to Help Save Wildlife – NBC Bay Area

Fresh from his flight back from Australia, a Bay Area filmmaker is using technology to help save wildlife, many of which are on the brink of extinction.

Douglas Thron is usually working on nature films, piloting
his drones to help directors get phenomenal images of animals in the wild. However,
he recently started using his high-powered drones to help save some of those
animals from natural disasters, like Australia’s recent wildfires.

“Now it’s kind of shifted, not so much rescuing the
animals, but locating where the remaining populations are,” Thron said.

Over the last several weeks, he’s been
using one of his specially equipped drones — a has an infra-red scope which
comes in handy, spotting animals in partially scorched wilderness areas.

“With the infrared drone, you fly
over, and they give off a heat signature, and you can readily pick up where the
animals are, and the rescue crews can go and capture them if needed,” Thron
said.

He’s helped wildfire survivors in California find their
lost pets, and he also volunteered with animal rescue teams after hurricanes in
the Caribbean.

Thron said the amount of land and animal
habitat destroyed in Australia is so large, it’s almost unthinkable.

Tens of millions of acres burned, 2,500
homes destroyed. He captured stunning video of kangaroos in wide open areas, koalas
in trees looking for leaves to eat and wombats near their tunnels.

Those are animals that don’t exist anywhere
else in the world so Thron is hoping to help locate more survivors to help feed
them.

“It could be six months, they’re
saying it could be years that the animals are going to need human intervention
giving them food, otherwise they’re going to starve,” he said.

Thron is in the Bay for a week, getting
some maintenance done to his drones and he will return to Australia next week.

He hopes to not just to get people to
donate money to animal rescue organizations, but to get the Australian
government to do something as well.

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