Published on May 10th, 2012 | by James Johnson0
Yellowstone Wolf Population Being Saved By Infrared Imaging
Wolves in Yellowstone are fighting a battle against a new predator, sarcoptic mange, a form of scabies that causes the canines to lose their hair. As the wolves lose their hair they lose calorries as their bodies try to warm, which in turn can cause malnutrition and eventually death.
While scientists do not currently understand how to halt mange or even the full impact it will have of the Yellowstone wolf population they have found a way to identify it and haul in the mange infested wolves using infrared cameras.
As heat escapes from the wolves bald patches it shows up on thermal images. According to a park official:
“We can see the color change with the infrared and estimate how much heat they’re losing.”
The simple examination means park workers do not have to disturb the wolf population with the use of traps, radio collars or injections.
The infrared cameras also serve another purpose, by collecting body surface temperatures they can determine how many calories the wolves are losing in comparison to healthy wolves, therefore determining how long they have left to live.