How To Monitor Wildlife Using GIS

GIS focuses on distribution of various species, habitat characteristics of endangered animals, surveying and habitat modelling, potential fish habitat, the spatial distribution of nesting areas, prey depletion, grazing effects, and illicit trade.

How To Monitor Wildlife Using GIS
How To Monitor Wildlife Using GIS
How To Monitor Wildlife Using GIS

How To Monitor Wildlife Using GIS 

Many beautiful species have already gone extinct, and many are on the verge of being extinct. Wildlife research and conservation practices require a robust database and regular monitoring. Most of the endangered species are present in dense forests, mountains, and oceans where it is not possible to provide facilities, medical aids, and proper research environment to the interested volunteers.

Many wildlife studies have already been done using GIS.  It focuses on the distribution of various species, habitat characteristics of endangered animals, surveying and habitat modelling, potential fish habitat, the spatial distribution of nesting areas, prey depletion, grazing effects, and illicit trade.

During habitat suitability mapping, the position of the wildlife data has to be accurate so that similar environmental conditions can be obtained correctly. When locations of wildlife habitat don't match with the corresponding environmental conditions, the resulting habitat suitability map is not accurate. GIS is the ideal tool to perform these tasks.

Another key focus of researchers is how the changing environment affect different species. For example, forest fires force animals to migrate to another place. Many of them die, and some get injured. A fire risk zone map combines various layers like land cover type, slope, elevation, distance to roads, and others to get prepared for emergencies.
 
Conservation measures like putting fences and barriers, locating nearby roads with high traffic, marking no hunting zones, need a proper mapping. A 3D viewer of GIS data gives a better visualization and helps in determining where development is required. Waterways need to be assessed every season to mitigate the consequences of sediment settlement, low water quality, the declining level of water, and migration of animals to another place in search of water.

Clearwater with required depth indicates that fishes, aquatic plants, and other water species have no threat. Various satellite sensors are specially designed to detect water bodies. Satellite imagery and SONAR data are combined and used to measure the depth of water bodies.

A study was conducted in the People's Republic of China to monitor Giant Panda habitat. Techniques like visual image interpretation were applied on multi-temporal images of LANDSAT MSS. A map was then prepared using ground survey data, which was used for planning and conservation. Giant Panda is among the threatened animal species.
Satellite images, UAVs, Radar, remote cameras are some of the techniques which assist in observing, counting animals, tracking their movement, density mapping, and many other changes occurring in wildlife.

Coastal flooding, desertification, salinization, Ice sheet monitoring, Lava flows from Volcanoes are some of the natural hazards that seriously affects wildlife. Geospatial applications like thermal Remote Sensing, Radar and Optical remote sensing, SAR data, damage assessment, and Geomorphological studies help the planners to mitigate the risks of natural disasters.  

Entering into wildlife habitat is not only dangerous for humans but disturbs the wild species also. Monitoring them remotely saves the ecosystem and also gives a full view of a large area. Many things need to be observed remotely with less human intervention and wildlife is one of them.