Since the 1960s, the use of radio telemetry has eased to check the movement and behavior of wildlife. It is a widely accepted technique used in monitoring of free ranging animals. This technique uses transmission of radio signals to locate and track wildlife of interest.
There are basically three different formats of radio telemetry. They are as follows:
- VHF radio tracking
- GPS (Global Positioning System) tracking
- GPS + satellite combination tracking
Radio-telemetry has 4 essential components:
- Source of signal-Radio collar
How radio-telemetry works?
For radio telemetry, firstly the wildlife should be captured and handled properly. As the animal gets anesthetized, the weight of that captured animal is measured.
According to international practices, the weight of radio collar should be about 1.5%-2% of total animal weight.
After the measurement, the radio collar or chip is installed into its body. The chip or collar installed should provide minimal disturbance to the movement or other activities of the wildlife of interest.
The radio chips are either fitted outside the body or injected into the body, while the radio collar is wrapped around the animal’s neck or waist areas.
Advantages of radio telemetry
- Easy monitoring of wildlife species
- Inexpensive than other technologies
- It conveys the following types of information to the receiver;
- Location, motion sensing
- Transmitter temp. (Indicates body temp. of animal if internal)
- Side temperature (transmitter or sensor external)
- Bio-physiological data (heartbeat, eye movement, defection, urination)
Disadvantages of radio telemetry
- Limited to the battery used to power the radio collar and the frequency range
- Also limited to communication between transmitter and the server
- Radio collars may disturb the wild animal’s movement or its natural behavior
- Radio collars may cause dermatitis in the monitored animal.
- Injected chips or radio transmitters may cause harm to the internal body of the animal or explode inside the body causing its death.