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GPS Tracking Wolves In Arctic

GPS Tracking Collars Monitor Wolves In Arctic

Eager to learn more about how wolves navigate and survive the frigid Winter months in the Arctic, researchers placed a GPS tracking collar on a wolf named “Brutus” to monitor him and his wolf pack. The sophisticated and weather-strong GPS tracking collar that monitors Brutus’ movements up-links with GPS satellites, sending location coordinates to researchers via email. The U.S. Geological Survey researchers experimenting placed the GPS tracking collar on Brutus in late July, hoping to acquire knowledge about how arctic wolves survive in total darkness and in some of the harshest elemental conditions on Earth.

The researchers experimenting on the Arctic wolves were excited about introducing GPS tracking technology because the use of GPS tracking systems meant more accurate and consistent data. Before scientists would have to manually record information, which would be not only time-consuming but potentially inaccurate and with gaps of data missing. The researchers were excited about the GPS tracking systems and hoped they would provide information on how arctic wolves can survive in a region blanketed in the darkness where temperatures routinely can fall as low as -70 degrees Fahrenheit.

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GPS Systems Teach Researchers About Wolves

Information from the real time GPS tracking system has suggested that Brutus is traveling with approximately 11 other wolves in his pack. The GPS tracking collar has also recorded Brutus and his buddies roaming in a 740 square mile radius in the pitch black. Researchers hypothesize that the wolves are probably combing the region looking for arctic hares, muskoxen, or other prey as they try and survive until Spring arrives in June.

Information on the wolves’ movements can be accessed at the Wolves of the High Arctic research blog.

Because researchers wanted to record as much data as possible and not have battery life affect the experiment, the GPS tracking collar only transmits a position every 12 hours.

Hopefully, with the advancement of GPS collars, researchers will one day be able to monitor the movements of the arctic wolves continuously without delay, providing researchers an in-depth understanding of the majestic animal.

Source: Wired News

Matthew Henson
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