Event /  11 May 2023

How do I get started with systematic reconnaissance flights (SRFs) for wildlife survey?

Recording available! On Thursday 11th May, 4PM EAT|2PM BST Dr. Richard Lamprey, answered the question: 'How do I get started with systematic reconnaissance flights (SRFs) for wildlife surveys?'. This tutorial explored the different aspects of aerial surveys, including their significance, ways to ensure precision and accuracy, techniques for counting from aerial platforms, methods of analyzing SRF survey data, and much more!

Online Event
11 May 2023 - this event is in the past.
4:00 pm ~ 5:00 pm Africa/Nairobi
 Recording Available

About this Episode

The WILDLABS Tech Tutors are here to answer the "how do I do that?" questions of conservation technology! These tutorials will provide practical skills and steps that will become the building blocks you need to push your conservation tech work and research forward. This season, the focus will be to answer the questions emerging from our growing East Africa regional community, while also opening up new tech skills for our global community.

On Thursday,11th May at 4 PM EAT / 2PM BST,  Dr. Richard Lamprey, led a tutorial on ' How do I get started with Systematic reconnaissance flights (SRFs) for wildlife survey?'. Richard will highlight the different aspects of aerial surveys, including their significance, ways to ensure precision and accuracy, techniques for counting from aerial platforms, methods of analyzing SRF survey data.

You can access the recording here

Meet your Tutor: Dr. Richard Lamprey

Dr. Richard Lamprey is a wildlife survey and remote sensing specialist. He launched the WildSpace Image Analytics which is aimed at delivering high-quality and cost-effective visual interpretation and annotation of aerial imagery for wildlife enumeration, environmental assessment, land use monitoring and machine learning. With a focus on large area wildlife surveys in Africa, Richard has designed aerial and ground survey components for both livestock and wildlife in Uganda, Kenya, and Somalia. He is particularly interested in the use of small and medium format camera imaging for wildlife enumeration and land use assessment.

We asked Richard..

What will I learn in this episode?

Why do aerial surveys?  Generally, wildlife aerial surveys provide population and distribution data to inform wildlife managers in conservation decision making. 

In this episode you will:

  • Learn how to frame the questions to managers about what they actually need from the survey.
  • Understand more about accuracy and precision for aerial surveys.
  • Learn the basic ways to count animals from aerial platforms, eg total counts, block counts, sample counts by strip transects or distance-measuring (line transects).
  • Understand the essential ways that SRF survey data are analyzed.
How can I learn more about systemic reconnaissance flights for wildlife surveys?

The fundamental principles of the SRF remain as valid now as when they were formulated over 50 years ago.  For the best explanations of aerial counting methods, see:

Essential reading!

Good debates about methods, practical issues and setting up national survey programmes in

  • Grimsdell, J. J. R., & Westley, S. B. (1981). Low-level aerial survey techniques. (J. J. R. Grimsdell & S. B. Westley, Eds.). ILCA Monographs 4, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Monograph 4, International Livestock Centre for Africa.

Sample-count surveys, explanation for the more technically minded…

  • Caughley, G. J. (1977). Sampling in aerial survey. Journal of Wildlife Management, 41(4), 605–615. https://doi.org/10.2307/3799980
  • Gasaway, W. C., DuBois, S. D., Reed, D. J., & Harbo, S. J. (1986). Estimating moose population parameters from aerial surveys. Report 22, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska.

For more recent developments of standards, see:

  • CITES-MIKE. (2019). Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants: Aerial Survey Standards for the MIKE Programme. Version 3.0. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species - Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants Programme (CITES-MIKE), United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, Kenya.

And for developments in use of cameras, see:

  • Lamprey, R. H., Pope, F., Ngene, S., Norton-Griffiths, M., Frederick, H., Okita-Ouma, B., & Douglas-Hamilton, I. (2019). Comparing an automated high-definition oblique camera system to rear-seat-observers in a wildlife survey in Tsavo, Kenya: Taking multi-species aerial counts to the next level. Biological Conservation, 241. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108243
If I need to take the next step with systematic reconnaissance flights for wildlife surveys, what is the first thing I should consider?

Practical things to consider are:

  • Can I link up with an aerial survey team to gain experience?

  • What specific role do you want to play, eg design, observing, analysis, GIS, or even piloting?

  • Whether your institution has, or can get, the financial resources to implement surveys.

  • Whether you have access to suitable equipment (for example an aircraft!) to implement surveys.

  • Are staff available with the certain capacity and skills for observing animals or interpreting survey data?

Catch up with the tutorial here

Learn more about upcoming Tutorials

This is our last block of this season's Tech Tutors, East Africa and we hope you've so far benefited from the topics covered by our diverse speakers. If you were not able to join us for our prior sessions, you can catch up with our previous episodes in our YouTube channel

To find out more about the entire season, kindly visit this page or contact Netty Cheruto @ [email protected]

Add the first post in this thread.

Want to share your own conservation tech experiences and expertise with our growing global community? Login or register to start posting!