Year-round aerial wildlife surveys

Typically, wildlife surveys are restricted to the winter months using visual observers to collect data.  In order to obtain data that is statistically relevant, the aircraft fly fixed transects over survey areas for extended periods of time.  This type of survey process poses many operational challenges such as:

  • Surveys are limited to winter periods and may minimize extrapolation of results and therefore their validity;
  • Fatigue and eye-strain affect the observer’s consistency and accuracy;
  • Animals may scatter or find cover beneath the snow making an accurate count difficult, or impossible;
  • Animals driven into adjacent transects will affect accurate wildlife counts.

Aerial surveys using thermal scans have many advantages over traditional observer-dependent surveys:

  • Thermal scans can identify wildlife that is otherwise visually hidden or camouflaged. The ambient lighting conditions or vegetative cover does not affect the ability to identify the presence of an animal. Consequently, wildlife can be identified and counted, even if under cover, at distances that would be impractical to reasonably achieve visually.
  • The sensitivity of thermal scanning equipment extends the seasonal timelines for wildlife study.
  • Thermal scanning equipment permits observation of animal behavior and movement at night.
  • Surveys conducted with thermal scanning technology provide a permanent record of the survey. Post-flight review is unlimited and allows the users to eliminate observer error and provide confirmation of results with confidence.