The wild herds breaking up rock art, trampling sacred ceremonial sites and destroying culturally significant waterways will be fought with new space technology.
Balnggarrawarra ranger and traditional Normanby station owner in Cape York, Vince Harrigan, said existing technology allows for rangers to track wild cattle and buffaloes across the Top End, but the new SpaceCows program would allow them to predict in advance where they are going and either slaughter them or fence off important sites.
CSIRO estimates il There are over 120,000 introduced buffaloes and hundreds of thousands of cattle that have scattered from the breeding stations.
Artificial intelligence and data from satellite tracking of tagged animals will be used to create a replica of the virtual landscape. This predicts, for example, how hot weather might cause herds to move towards the water in a certain way and allow rangers to step in.
Harrigan said SpaceCows - a joint project between indigenous land management groups, universities, CSIRO, satellite company Kineis and Microsoft - would show where the herds were and where they were going, to help protect tetraditional rres. Rangers would be trained to use AI, drones and tablets to manage animals in over 22,000 km².
The rangers could then decide whether certain areas must be fenced off, or other actions (such as culling) undertaken.
Harrigan said the sacred sites where the laws were di scussed and organized ceremonies could be trampled by herds, which could also congregate in places sheltered with ancient rock art.
"We have areas that we call bora grounds where we do initiations. (They're) like hangouts, you know, where our crowd gathers and where our dancers and songwriters can perform, ”he said.
" Some of our rock art is very low, in sheltered areas. There have been instances where there are thu cattle right next to these low paintings, rubbing against them. Over time they erase it, erase it. "
CSIRO has started to track wild hoof herds in real time. Last year, from Arnhem Land to Cape York. With SpaceCows, Microsoft's Azure AI technology will be used to create a landscape of digital twins using satellite data as well as weather and terrain information.
CSIRO research scientist Dr Andrew Hoskins said the biggest challenge for wildlife management is finding the animals in a vast and sometimes inaccessible area .
"Microsoft technologies exploit data from tagged animals and satellites in low Earth orbit, allowing us to see the landscape and predict the movement of herds wild ", he said.
" These informationrations are essential for indigenous rangers to determine the best time and place to ethically assemble or to decide whether an alternative measure of population control is needed. "
Ricky Archer, chief executive of the Alliance for the Management of Indigenous Lands and Seas of North Australia, said it was common to see wetlands and springs culturally significant damaged, as well as eroded gullies.
"Over the course of several years, Normanby Land Management has witnessed the growth of great landmarks. 'gully erosion, at an alarming rate, due to unmanaged wild livestock,' he said.