ANU wildlife monitoring spinout Wildlife Drones previously turned to a Csiro-run accelerator to help get its drone-powered animal tracking system off the ground.

Wildlife Drones, an Australia-based wildlife monitoring spinout of Australian National University (ANU), closed a A$670,000 ($485,000) seed round yesterday featuring multi-university venture fund Uniseed and assorted angel investors.

Founded in 2016, Wildlife Drone is creating an animal-tracking system that utilises unmanned aerial vehicles to simultaneously pick up signals from hundreds of local species chipped with radio tags.

The platform can focus on groups of targeted species such as predators or prey and collect transmissions from distance to avoid disturbing sensitive habitats.

Wildlife Drones regards the approach as an improvement on conventional manual ground-level trackers which can be time-consuming to operate and limited to picking up one animal at a time.

Wildlife Drones will put the seed cash towards the launch of its first drone tracker in Australia and New Zealand. Its technology was recently tested to monitor movements of the swift parrot, a highly-endangered Australian species.

The spinout’s founding team includes Debbie Saunders, a postdoctoral researcher at ANU focused on conservation ecology.

Saunders and her colleagues were supported in starting the business by On, a science and technology accelerator run by research institute Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

Natasha Rawlings, investment manager at Uniseed, said: “Wildlife Drones has the potential to radically transform animal tracking, giving the wildlife management industry vastly more confidence and ability to fulfil its important role in protecting the environment.

“There is nothing else like it on the market. Uniseed is proud to have backed what really is pioneering technology in such an important space.”