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Tracking Technology Reveals Hidden Animal Migration Routes

A newly collared muledeer.

Researchers using improved Global Positioning System collars to produce a comprehensive analysis of Wyoming's big game migration patterns.

Credit: Mark Gocke/Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Researchers have produced a comprehensive analysis of Wyoming's big game migration patterns.

Using improved Global Positioning System (GPS) collars, the researchers analyzed decades of data in an effort to provide a broad roadmap for future conservation projects.

Recent advances in GPS satellite technology have made it possible for researchers to locate specific animals with a high degree of accuracy, and to do so every hour if desired.

Collars can monitor position via direct satellite feed that delivers information in real time to scientists, or they can store data on an internal computer chip.

Said Stan Tomkiewicz, director of environmental programs at Telonics, which supplies tracking collars, “We can actually talk directly to the collars when they are on the animals and can reprogram them to do different things.”

For example, the collar can be programmed to drop off an animal's neck at a predetermined date.

The technology also permits researchers to set up “geofences,” which send out a notification once a herd or group of animals leaves predetermined digital borders.

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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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