Portable thermal imaging drones are better integrated into one of the scenarios for wildlife population monitoring. We will show how thermal imaging drones can be used for population monitoring of European hares and explain the advantages of drone measurements.
Why do we use thermal imaging drones for population monitoring?
First, drones can be used in environments that are difficult to monitor with traditional methods, reducing the time and labor spent on ground surveys and being less expensive than manned aerial surveys. Second, drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras further advance the use of drones in wildlife research, broadening the possibilities for drone surveys.
Thermal imaging captures from drones are no longer visible to RGB cameras, they rely on the heat emitted by objects, making drone thermal imaging surveys ideal for monitoring nocturnal species such as European hares.
Traditional wildlife population monitoring makes extensive use of traditional field surveys, field observation of animals on foot or from manned aircraft, images of fixed field locations captured using camera traps, fecal density counts, and is conducted using marker-recapture methods and indirect monitoring methods. Sampling, for example, annual hunting harvest statistics. Such methods are relatively complex and consume a lot of effort and cost.
Monitoring of small mammals using drone surveys with thermal imaging is limited, and most previous studies have focused on large mammals such as deer, wild boar, wolf, etc. Therefore, monitoring hare populations can also be further improved Thermal camera drone improvements.
Why is population monitoring of the European hare important?
The European hare has been a species of interest to many Europeans and it is considered a valuable game species.
European hares reproduce so prodigiously that many research areas work with volunteers to study large-scale hare population trends. And game hunting statistics are also used by many countries to provide an overall indication of population trends.
How can thermal imaging drones be used to identify and count hares?
The value of thermal imaging drone surveys depends on many flight parameters, such as flight altitude and speed.
In determining flight altitude and speed, there is a trade-off between the maximum ground area that an available flight can cover, time and the minimum resolution required for species identification.
Wildlife populations are often dependent on many larger areas. Therefore, it is important to determine the method of flight, including the optimum flight altitude for covering large ground areas.
In addition, the flight speed and flight pattern of the thermal imaging drone are important along with the camera angle and recording method and can be used to further determine the ideal parameters for conducting population surveys.
Automatic detection and species identification with thermal imaging drones can also collect more data for drone surveys of mammals, further reducing the time and labor required to conduct population counts.
Image source: Article【 Using Drones with Thermal Imaging to Estimate Population Counts of European Hare (Lepus europaeus) in Denmark】
By using drone surveys with thermal imaging, hares can be identified and their population counted. In the monitoring of wildlife populations by thermal imaging drones, the most suitable flying height for EVO II 640T is between 40m-80m, which will neither interfere with hare activities nor cause unclear shooting due to low resolution.
In the future thermal imaging drone wildlife population survey, enhanced automatic detection and species identification technology research will further promote the technical development of thermal imaging drones.