GPS Tracking Devices For Bears
There are very few places in the world that outdoor enthusiasts suggest everyone should see once before they die, and Yellowstone National Park is one of those magical spots. Located on the western side of the country in parts of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park is most recognized for being home to the Old Faithful Geyser and Upper Geyser Basin. People from all over the globe travel to Yellowstone to see firsthand popular attractions such as the Mammoth Hot Springs, Hayden Valley, and Yellowstone Lake, but the site every visitor makes certain they allocate time to view is Old Faithful. Getting to Old Faithful and many other popular sites of attraction often require visitors to do a little hiking, which is something most visitors enjoy and see as an opportunity to better take in the scenery and some fresh air. Unfortunately, as beautiful as Mother Nature is, she can also be very violent, and that was highlighted recently when a man and his wife who were hiking suffered a severe bear attack that left the husband dead. Although the bear attack was the first lethal bear attack to occur at Yellowstone in nearly a quarter-century, some people are asking the question of whether the National Park Service should do more to enhance the safety of hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts by utilizing GPS tracking technology to boost visitor safety.
National Park Boundaries With GPS Tracking
How GPS Can Help National Park Visitors
There are a couple of different ways that satellite monitoring and geolocational technology can result in a safer experience for visitors to National Parks such as Yellowstone. First of all, the parks could make it mandatory that hikers and other visitors carry both a GPS navigational device and a personal GPS tracker. The navigational system would help any hikers identify local trails in case they ever became lost, and the personal tracker could be used in emergency situations by park officials to quickly locate people who are lost or missing in National Park territory.
Another way that GPS could boost safety at National Parks is through a process known as wildlife tracking. How this application would work is through the assistance of scientists and other researchers by tagging local grizzly and black bears known to roam near areas where humans frequent. By equipping the bears with real-time tracking systems, the location of the bears can be accessed 24/7 by park officials. Therefore, if park officials who are monitoring the GPS data ever saw a tagged bear moving near campsites, popular trails or other locations that are frequently inhabited by humans, officials can warn hikers and visitors in those parts to travel in groups or not to go into those areas of concern at all for a short period of time.
Although the recent events at Yellowstone were extremely tragic, they do remind us exactly how wild the wild can be. People who venture into the wilderness need to be equipped with pepper spray, GPS devices and an assortment of safety and security products to help with personal protection. Those who journey into the wild must also know what to do when they encounter a bear as well.
What Is Put On Bears To Track Them?
Real time GPS trackers are placed on black bears by the National Park Service, scientists, or researchers to track the movement of the wildlife. The data from the GPS systems give detailed trails, behaviors, and more. GPS tracking technology is used to help researchers better understand how bears interact with their natural environment, and hopefully reduce the number of bear attacks on campers and hikers.
Learn more about how GPS tracking devices are helping the Department of Fish & Game catch poachers!
Bear Provides Interesting GPS Tracking Data
In the great outdoors of the Alaskan region nature is king. With harsh elemental conditions and treacherous mountainous landscapes, animals and other wildlife are the only organisms able to successfully inhabit the rough areas on a long-term, permanent basis. However, where nature flourishes, scientists have the opportunity to monitor and learn more about the interactions of wildlife in their environment.
Biologist Kevin White was one of the many scientists working in the Alaskan region researching animals and how they interact with their environment. However, what makes his story unique is how he implemented GPS tracking system technology to monitor a mountain goat and the events that were to follow.
GPS tracking devices have become a popular tool with environmentalists, ecologists, and all sorts of variations of scientists. The data the tracking systems provide is essential to the scientists solving and understanding the experiments they are challenged with.
GPS Tracking A Mountain Goat or GPS Tracking a Bear?
After placing a GPS monitoring collar upon a mountain goat, White began recording and monitoring the tracking system data in detail. The tracking data was being used to identify many scientific things such as the area in which a mountain goat inhabits and travels, mating patterns, etc. However, when the GPS tracking data began changing without explanation White knew something had happened. The only question was what?
After reviewing the data, environment, predators in the area, White and a fellow researcher uncovered that a local black bear apparently either killed the mountain goat or scavenged the goat’s carcass and succeeded somehow in acquiring the GPS system.The bear actually was able to wear the GPS tracking system and carry it on him for a long period of time.
Odd animal behavior is not completely uncommon in the Alaskan area. For example, it is not uncommon for a moose to get interlaced or twisted up in holiday decorations around Christmas time. Also, bears are known for their mischievous and curious behavior, digging into camper’s food sacks or tents. Therefore, although the story is unique that the bear was able to acquire the GPS tracker from the mountain goat, it does still fit the pattern of goofy bear behavior.
When asked about his personal thoughts on the wild bear “stealing” the GPS from the mountain goat, White simply said that nature could be strange at times.
Matthew is a freelance writer who is passionate about technology, music, photography, and decentralized finance.