Bear Trackers Use GPS in Bid to Preserve Animals


This article  on CNN describes how black bears in South Florida are being fitted with GPS collars to track their migration habits. The bears are facing an increasingly restricted environment which leads them to be isolated so that many of them are experiencing a loss of genetic diversity.

The researchers use doughnuts to entice the bears to traps. (They didn’t say which flavor.) The bears are then anaesthetized and fitted with tags and a collar. Hair samples are also taken for genetic testing.

The results of the work should show how much land needs to be conserved so that the bears have room to migrate and maintain healthy breeding populations.

The article doesn’t make clear that the GPS data has to be transmitted somehow from the collar so that it can be analyzed. In the captions of the photo galleries it says a text messaging system is used to relay the data. That’s an important link since a plain GPS receiver doesn’t transmit data.

Photo from the Flickr Digital Commons. American Black Bear. Lincoln Park Zoo mammal. 1900.

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