Satellite Imagery helps spot Polar bears from Space

Satellite Imagery helps spot Polar bears from Space

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Canada: The recent findings related to use of satellite imagery in tracking Arctic fauna reveal it is actually possible to count polar bears from space. The latest research paper 'Polar Bears from Space: Assessing Satellite Imagery as a Tool to Track Arctic Wildlife' published in the open access journal PLOS ONE explores remote sensing as a cost-effective and wildlife-friendly option to monitor Arctic wildlife.

The scientists used high-resolution satellite imagery to count the population of polar bears on Rowley Island in Foxe Basin in the Canadian Arctic. The study counted 100 bears by telling apart presumed bears and non-targets by comparing high resolution images gathered at different points in time. The images were procured from WorldView-2 satellite of Digital Globe ( ~0.5 m resolution at nadir; Quickbird, 0.65 m resolution) and orthorectification was attempted on the images.

High resolution satellite imagery used to detect polar bears.

The left image offers a clear view of the polar bear as compared to reference image on the right.
The left image offers a clear view of the polar bear as compared to reference image on the right.

'The success of this technique with polar bears suggests that satellite imagery would likely provide a useful means to inventory other megafauna as well', said the researchers.

Source: PLOS ONE