Drone research will help Aotearoa's threatened lizards!

$2,900 donated
Given by 36 generous donors in 5 weeks

This innovative drone research will help Aotearoa's threatened lizard species! but we require funding to support this significant mahi.


My name is Carey Knox, and I am an experienced lizard ecologist (or herpetologist). Recently, I’ve returned to the University of Otago to undertake a PhD (supervised by Dr Jo Monks), after realising the huge potential of drone technology for improving knowledge of lizard populations. Many of Aotearoa’s 120+ lizard species are threatened with extinction and occupy difficult to survey habitats, thus distribution and abundance can be poorly understood, making conservation management problematic. I aim to tackle this conservation issue head on by developing drones as a tool for reliably finding lizards in inaccessible habitats, such as forest canopies and steep mountain sides. Unfortunately, I have been unable to gain a university scholarship. Thus, we are seeking alternative funding for this crucial mahi.

This research started in October last year and thus far we have proved that our drone (nicknamed ‘froggy’) is able to efficiently locate jewelled geckos (Naultinus gemmeus) in forest canopies, as well as skinks in steep terrain. We even discovered a new population of the Nationally Critical Canterbury spotted skink using the drone! Supporters can choose between making themselves known or remaining anonymous. For the former, acknowledgement, photographs, and regular updates will be available. I truly believe that this research will assist in reptile conservation management and result in exciting new discoveries. Thanks, Carey Knox & Jo Monks.

Use of funds

Course fees, field equipment, and field work expenses. All of the funds raised will be spent on the research.

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Thanks so much!  14 June 2024

The money that has been raised so far is a great start and will make a significant contribution towards what I am going to be able to achieve with this research. I am hugely grateful for all of the donations (big or small) and kind messages of support I have received. I am really looking forward to some exciting field work next summer in Fiordland, Canterbury, and Otago. This campaign will run for a two-year period whilst I continue working on my PhD, so there is plenty of opportunity to contribute further (if or when you choose to do so). In the meantime, I am working hard on study design and looking forward to field work starting on Otago Peninsula once it warms up in September. Best wishes, Carey

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Latest donations

Ludo 1 day ago
Great work
Alex on 31 May 2024
Hetty on 30 May 2024
Thank you so much for your amazing mahi! As a student and volunteer who loves our precious geckos it's incredible to see innovation in their conservation so close to home! Best of luck :)
Penny on 28 May 2024
thanks for doing such great research
Jocelyn on 27 May 2024
Thank you foe doing this vital work, Carey.

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This campaign started on 16 May 2024 and ends on 15 May 2026.