Radio Collared Animals
GPS Collars or Argos Collars
(Radio telemetry) are used in order to gain a thorough understanding of a species population and its dynamics as well as to identify any potential threats to its survival. This information can then be used to formulate management plans for the long-term conservation of that species.
Regularly monitoring animal movements helps researchers answer questions about the species - their habitat, habits, movement, population and more.
Alternatives to collars
Radio or GPS tracking is also used on creatures where a collar is not suitable, such as birds or turtles. In these cases different ways of attaching the device need to be used. In the case of birds, the radio or GPS unit must be extremely lightweight to avoid affecting the birds ability to fly and the units are usually attached by gluing them to the bird. The units will naturally fall off when the bird starts to moult. Similarly with turtles, gluing the unit on to the turtle's shell is the most effective way to mount the unit without causing discomfort to the turtle. Units used with turtles or other marine animals have to be waterproof and able to resist the corrosive effects of sea water.
In other cases an implant may be used if a collar or other external attachment is impractical or undesirable. This can either be subcutaneous (under the skin), or in the peritoneal cavity (under the muscle layer). As well as being used for visual reasons, implants can be used as part of studies to monitor the animals body temperature or heart rate. When Rhino are to be tracked, a popular method is to drill a hole in the tusk and mount the implant in the hole. The down side of implants is that they can suffer from a reduced range when compared to collars as the animals body will block some of the signal thus reducing its strength and range.
The battery life on these collars is about two years, after which the animal lives with the non-functional collar for the rest of its life. Collars (paid for by the goverment) are very expensive and are only fitted to free-roaming animals. If a problem occurs and the animal is captured the collar will be checked and a new one could replace it.
It is ILLEGAL to shoot or kill a collared animal species. There can be hefty fines accident or not. If you have a concern with a collared animal, contact your nearest Fish & Game to handle the situation. If you are attacked or you feel threatend and have to kill the collared animal, report it to the nearest Fish & Game athority as soon as possible.
Hunting & Fishing