DRONE REMOTE SENSING FOR THE CONTROLLED CAPTURE OF SIKA DEER (CERVUS NIPPON): CASE STUDY IN VILLAGE OF YAMANAKAKO
Keywords: UAV, drone, thermal image, sika deer, controlled capture
Abstract. In recent years, the population of sika deer in Japan has been increasing, causing animal damage. As for sika deer in the vicinity of the village of Yamanakako, Yamanashi Prefecture, although the total number of individuals is on a downward trend due to the controlled capture that has been conducted throughout the year since 2009, the number of individuals (population) that stay in the vicinity of residential areas (villa areas) has been increasing in recent years. Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone has been proven as an effective tool in wildlife research. In particular, thermal images are useful for relatively large mammals such as deer. In this paper, the utility of drone remote sensing using RGB and thermal video is tested for controlled capture of sika deer as a case study in the village of Yamanakako. We develop a methodology to acquire data and to visually identify sika deer specifically for this mission. As a result, the drone remote sensing was considered successful completing within 1 hour and identifying 25 sika deer individuals. Thermal video format was effective to visually identify sika deer on site in terms of time savings, compared to RGB video or RGB/thermal still image format. To have flight area grided and hovering 3 seconds at the centre of a grid during the flight was essential both for visually identifying the number and location of sika deer and for sharing such information later with beaters and shooters using a map.