discussion / Human-Wildlife Conflict  / 3 October 2020

Predator Deterrent - Human Effigy Based

About a year ago, Lyn Watson from Australian Dingo Foundation approached me with an idea to develope a solution to reduce conflict between dingoes and humands, including livestock, in Australia. The idea was based on some trials being done in the USA where 'inflatible tube people' were used by ranchers to deter wolves. The limitation we could see with the US trial was that a generator was required to run the effigy, which meant fuel, generator cost etc. The advantage with the solution trialed in the US was everything was 'off the shelf' and commercially available fan units, tube people and generators could be used.

We developed a solution that ran on 12V batteries (gel cells initially) and built a custom fan enclosure out of fibreglass. While still in proptyping phase, the unit could be contained in a single enclosure and field deployed by 1 person. Solar needs to be added to keep the battery charged. The batteries and fan are commercially available, as is the solar charge system.

In June 2019 the unit was tested on captive dingoes at Dingo Discovery Center (DDC) in Toolernvale, Victoria (Aus). A paper was published by Dr. Brad Smith, who ran the trial at DDC, along with some other science brainy type poeple... https://www.publish.csiro.au/PC/PC20022

The trials at DDC were done using a remote trigger that was controlled by a person. The trials were successful on captive dingoes, which was a good sign. Now looking to work with some more people to do field trials in Australia if there's interest.


The implementation we're looking to do further field trials with uses motion sensors to activate the effigy, along with random 'idle' times and random activation times. The idea being that not only should the unit move randomly depending on weather but it will also move at random intervals and for random amounts of time. That control is based off an Arduino solution i just finished for another predtor deterrent trial using Audio being run by Dr. Neil Jordan, also in Australia.


This is a "love job", as is the ROAR device being developed with Neil and Rob (from Wildspy). In aus, a love job is something we do without charging money for... so development of both devices has been done without government grants or any funding. We've had a good run with a business i have doing industrial automation, so took some of the earnings and used them this way. There's a patent under way fo the effigy, but we're not interested in making money or restrict the technology. We just want to ensure that it can't be taken by certain people in Aus who prefer lethal control and 'locked up' so that non-lethal options that might work aren;t avialable or economically viable to implement.

If anyone is interested in learning more about the project, or would be interested in working to field trial units in Aus, please let me know. Keep in mind i'm an engineer and not an ecologist or animal psychologist; i'm happy to discuss technical aspects of the solution, but would need to defer for answers on other aspects.