GPS Tracking Blue Sheep
Tracking System Helps Research
Hoping to better understand and increase the survival probability of the snow leopard population, scientists are using tracking system devices that use GPS to track the endangered animal’s main prey, the blue sheep. Noticeably smaller than most large cats, a snow leopard usually weighs between 60-115 pounds and does not have the ability to roar. The GPS tracking system scientific experiment marks the first time such sophisticated tracking technology was used for conservation efforts in the Nepal region.
Tracking system technology was chosen for the blue sheep experiment because GPS trackers can provide very specific and detailed information that can aid ecologists and scientists. Scientists are hoping the GPS tracking data will help them create a better estimation of the blue sheep population in the cold desert region, which will also help them understand the distribution of blue sheep to snow leopards. The blue sheep, which strongly resemble mountain goats, have unique blue-tinted fur and curled horns and are essential to the snow leopard’s survival.
Currently, it is estimated that less than 10,000 snow leopards exist in the entire world.
Learn more about how GPS tracking is helping stop poaching!
GPS Trackers For Animals
There is a shortage of sufficient and qualitative data surrounding the snow leopard and blue sheep because of the difficulties of working in an environment at altitudes upwards of 6500m. High solar radiation, strong winds, and an overall brutal climate make it difficult for scientists to stage precise and developed experiments in the region, according to Professor Raubenheimer, an ecologist. GPS tracking devices essentially level the playing field, making the region’s difficult landscape manageable for scientists to conduct experiments. This is the same type of technology often used on cattle in farming applications. GPS tracking system transmitters will be placed upon approximately 10 different blue sheep in separate herds and their movements will be monitored for 2 years. Tracking system data will hopefully give scientists a stronger understanding of:
- The animal’s movements.
- Grazing patterns.
- Population structure.
GPS tracking system technology gives scientists an easy way to monitor the blue sheep, which will in-turn help them better understand the snow leopard. There have been very few studies ever conducted on the home range, habitat, or movements of the snow leopard’s prey in the Nepal region for various reasons. GPS tracking systems are providing the solution for ecologists and scientists to alleviate that lack of knowledge.