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.