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Counting crocodiles from the sky: Monitoring the critically endangered gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) population with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

Thapa, GJ, Thapa, K, Thapa, R, Jnawali, SR, Wich, SA, Poudyal, LP and Karki, S (2018) Counting crocodiles from the sky: Monitoring the critically endangered gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) population with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems. ISSN 2291-3467

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Counting crocodiles from the sky Monitoring the critically endangered gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) population with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)..pdf - Accepted Version

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Abstract

Technology is rapidly changing the methods in the field of wildlife monitoring. Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is an example of a new technology that allows biologists to take to the air to monitor wildlife. Fixed Wing UAV was used to monitor critically endangered gharial population along 46 km of the Babai River in Bardia National Park. The UAV was flown at an altitude of 80 m along 12 pre-designed missions with a search effort of 2.72 hours of flight time acquired a total of 11,799 images covering an effective surface area of 8.2 km2 of river bank habitat. The images taken from the UAV could differentiate between gharial and muggers. A total count of 33 gharials and 31 muggers with observed density (per km2) of 4.64 and 4.0 for gharial and mugger respectively. Comparison of count data between one-time UAV and multiple conventional visual encounter rate surveys data showed no significant difference in the mean. Basking season and turbidity were important factors for monitoring crocodiles along the river bank habitat. Efficacy of monitoring crocodiles by UAV at the given altitude can be replicated in high priority areas with less operating cost and acquisition of high resolution data.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QL Zoology
T Technology > T Technology (General)
T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: NRC Research Press
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2018 10:11
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2018 17:26
DOI or Identification number: 10.1139/juvs-2017-0026
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/8021

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