GPS Systems Teach Researchers About Wolves
GPS Tracking Collars Monitor Wolf Movement 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 conducting the experiment 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 conducting the experiment 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 darkness where temperatures routinely can fall as low below -70 degrees Fahrenheit.
GPS Tracking Data Provides Valuable Information
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 form 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 effect the experiment, the GPS tracking collar only transmits a position every 12 hours.
Hopefully, with the advancement of GPS tracking system collars researchers will one day be able to monitor the movements of the arctic wolves continuously without without delay, providing researchers an in depth understanding of the majestic animal.
Source: Wired News, Fox