Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Seal Counts by Infra Red


Just sometimes you come across a remarkable photograph. Here you can visualise individual seals using infra red photography.  A quick look though the internet tells us a number of things. Firstly this is not new and has been going on since before 1994 and infra red technology gives counts double that done visually. Secondly usage is expanding. Namibia capr fur seal colony is an example.

http://www.wildernesstrust.com/portfolio/namibia-cape-fur-seal-survey/

The update from March 2014 is this

March 2014
The aim of this section of the project was to introduce and test the viability of using highly sophisticated Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) cameras as a method of recognising and counting seals at a specific colony at Cape Cross on the Namibian coastline. Because this type of technology is only available to police and military units, and the only camera in Namibia belongs to the Namibian Police Air Wing, specific approval was requested and obtained from the Inspector General for the temporary use of the Police helicopter with the FLIR attached.
In February 2014, when the Cape Cross colony had returned, the pilot survey was carried out with support from the Wilderness Trust, Wilderness Safaris, Paul Van Schalkwyk Photography, the Namibian Police Air Wing and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. Fixed-wing support and photography to use and compare standard digital photography with the infrared camera was provided in the form of the specialised Air-Cam aircraft.

While we are still developing the software to automatically count the infrared signatures captured with the camera, the survey was a huge success in that we were able to ascertain that the FLIR camera can easily and with great clarity identify seals both on the beach and in the water up to a few metres in depth. Manual counting of the signatures is also possible and both methods will be elaborated on in the final report. The project will now be expanded to count the entire Namibian coastline and thereby contribute invaluable data to seal conservation and management. Manual counting of the signatures is also possible and both methods will be elaborated on in the final report. The project will now be expanded to count the entire Namibian coastline and thereby contribute invaluable data to seal conservation and management.

In 2012 this was undertaken , the most ambitious survey of Arctic seals ever attempted will send scientists to count mammals that many fear are facing increasing threats because of climate change.

A joint team of U.S. and Russian scientists spent mid-April through May flying nearly 35,000 miles (56,000 kilometers) over Arctic waters that border the two countries aboard small aircraft.

The planes flew at altitudes between 800 and 1,000 feet (240 and 300 meters) to avoid disturbing the animals, and researchers imageused high-resolution digital cameras and thermal sensors to spot the seals

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