Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Use of modern infrared thermography for wildlife population surveys

March 1, 1995

A commercially available thermal-infrared scanning system was used to survey populations of several wildlife species. The system's ability to detect species of different sizes in varying habitats relative to conventional survey methods, to differentiate between species in the same habitat, and the influence of environmental factors on operational aspects of employing this technology in the field were evaluated. Total costs for the surveys were approximately $0.36/ha. There were marked discrepancies in the counts of untrained observers and those from trained analysis. Computer-assisted analysis of infrared imagery recorded 52% fewer deer than were estimated from drive counts, and densities of moose were five times those estimated from conventional aerial methods. By flying concentric circles and using telephoto, detailed counts of turkeys and deer were possible. With the aid of computer-assisted analysis, infrared thermography may become a useful wildlife population survey tool. More research is needed to verify the actual efficiency of detection by combining aerial scans with ground truthing for a variely of species and habitals.

Publication Year 1995
Title Use of modern infrared thermography for wildlife population surveys
DOI 10.1007/BF02471993
Authors D.L. Garner, H.B. Underwood, W.F. Porter
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Management
Index ID 5223421
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center