Automated Radio-Telemetry System: Tracking Movements for Conservation Management
Courtnee Parr1, Shaye Antal1, Caroline Sauvé2, Luis Cruz-Martinez1, Patrick Leighton2, Anne Conan1
1 Center for Conservation Medicine and Ecosystem Health, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine
2 Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, Canada
The small Indian mongoose is an invasive species that plays a significant role in rabies epidemiology in some Caribbean islands, such as Puerto Rico.
Tracking the movement of this free ranging species is critical to quantify:
- Population density
- General behavioral activity
- Habitat use
Achieving this will allow for effective conservation strategies and zoonotic management. Telemetry has the potential to broaden understanding and the use of Automated Radio Telemetry System amplifies this. This strategy can be applied to other species of interest and public health.
PROS AND CONS
VHF Radio Telemetry Pros:
- More cost effective
- Smaller and less stress on animal
- Larger range
- More continuous data
- Less human involvement/more accurate behavior for species
VHF Radio Telemetry Cons:
- Smaller size = weaker signal
- Species travelling out of range
- Environmental wear on equipment
Another field challenge faced was exposure to a fire that occurred near the field site in April. This could have an effect on the density and behavior of the mongoose.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
- 19 mongoose radio-collared (Fig 1)
- 4 antennae towers 700 meters apart placed in the field site (Fig 2 and 3)
- Movements were continuously tracked for a 7 month period by the towers picking up signals from the radio collars on the mongoose (Fig 4)
- Data uploaded using SRX800 Host (Loteck Wireless) weekly
- All procedures were conducted under University of Montreal Ethic Committee (CÉUA) approved protocols (number: 18-Rech-1945)
Figure 1. Sedated mongoose fitted with radio collar. Credit: Caroline Suavé.
Figure 2. Map of the site location of the four towers.
Figure 3. One of the four radio telemetry towers in the field site. Credit: Caroline Suavé.
Figure 4. Graphic showing antennae design.
Data will show pattern of movement in time as well as estimated density. Control was accounted for by leaving one transmitter in the center of the grid for the entire study.
- Center for Conservation Medicine and Ecosystem Health, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine
- USDA for funding
- Research Assistants: Mary Cartwright, Caroline Esteves, John Fischer, Amanda Louis, and Stephanie Yates
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
- Kays et al. Tracking Animal Location and Activity with an Automated Radio Telemetry System in a Tropical Rainforest. The Computer Journal. 2011; 54 (12) 1931-1948.
- Ward et al. Evaluation of Automated Radio Telemetry for Quantifying Movements and Home Range of Snakes. Journal of Herpetology. 2013; 47 (2) 337-345.
- Ziegar et al. The Phylogeography of rabies in Grenada, West Indies, and implications for control. PLos Negl Trop Dis. 2014; 8 (10) e3251.