Drone-Assisted Aerial Surveys of Large Animals in Siberian Winter Forests. Atuchin, V., Prosekov, A., Vesnina, A. and Kuznetsov, A., 2020.

Abstract

There are two main reasons for monitoring the population of forest animals. First of all, regular surveysreveal the real state of biodiversity. Second, they guarantee a prompt response to any negativeenvironmental factor that affects the animal population and make it possible to eliminate the threatbefore any permanent damage has been done. The research objective was to study the potential of droneplanes equipped with thermal infrared imaging cameras. Drone planes proved effective in covering largeareas, while thermal infrared cameras provided accurate statistics in the harsh winter conditions ofSiberia. The research featured the population of the European elk (Alces alces), which is graduallydeteriorating due to poaching and deforestation. The surveyed territory included the Salair State NatureReserve in the Kemerovo Region, or Kuzbass (Russia). The authors developed an effective methodologyfor processing the data obtained from drone-mounted thermal infrared cameras. The research providedreliable results concerning the changes in the elk population on the territory in question. The use of droneplanes proved an effective means of ungulate animal survey on large areas of Siberian winter forests.