Thermal cameras as a survey method for Australian arboreal mammals: A focus on the greater glider
© 2020 Australian Mammal Society. This study developed and tested the efficacy of a real-time thermography technique to improve survey methods for Australian arboreal mammal species, with a focus on the greater glider. Development involved the use of thermal imaging cameras combined with spotlight transect surveys of an endangered greater glider population at Seven Mile Beach National Park. Over 30 h of nocturnal spotlight transect surveys were undertaken over 14 (1 km) transects within 70 ha of dry sclerophyll forest. A protocol for the use of thermography to survey greater gliders was developed. The efficacy of the thermography protocol was then experimentally tested in comparison to traditional spotlighting. Overall, thermography was better at detecting arboreal mammals than spotlighting (P < 0.05). However, the effect was not significant for greater gliders (P = 0.79), even though there was a trend towards improved detection of the species using thermal cameras. Thermography is a novel approach to undertaking arboreal mammal surveys and future studies should consider its relevance, effectiveness and associated costs to improve survey designs, especially for threatened species.