‘Smart Collars’ Will Track Wildlife

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SANTA CRUZ, Calif., Aug. 30 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say “smart collars” will enable people to learn how animals live their lives and possibly transform how wild populations are managed.

The collars will use a combination of global positioning technology and accelerometers for recording an animal’s actions as it leaps, runs or is sleeping, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The collars, being developed and tested in universities, will give biologists and wildlife managers data they’ve never had before, the researchers said.

“What you end up with is a diary for the animal, a 24-hour diary that says he spent this much time sleeping, and we know from the GPS where that was,” said researcher Terrie Williams, a professor of biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “Then he woke up and went for a walk over here. He caught something over here. He ate something and we know what it was because the signatures we get for a deer kill versus a rabbit kill are very different.”

Current wild animal collars using radio or satellite technology can reveal an animal’s location, but not much more.

“We want to know what they’re doing,” Williams said. “This is resting, this is walking, this is running, this is really tearing after something.”

Researchers say the collars could be ready for commercial production in a few years.

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