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Animal Tagging/Wildlife Tracking Data

What Is Animal Tagging/Wildlife Tracking Data?

Animal tagging refers to the practice of putting an identifying marker on an animal to keep track of its location and to impart information to a casual viewer (for example, whether it has an owner or has been neutered).

The practice has evolved, however, from branding and ear tipping to attaching high-tech GPS sensors to animals to track real-time behavior. In particular, this category refers to the tracking of wild animals for research or conservation efforts.

Where Does Animal Tagging/Wildlife Tracking Data Come From?

Animal tagging data comes from humans attaching tags or sensors to animals. When researchers tag an animal, they record their species, location, and condition. Later, researchers record updates through ground-based sensors or through re-capturing the animal for physical observation.

GPS sensors, on the other hand, allow for animals to remain free of human capture past the first installation. These sensors transmit information about an animal to data feeds via radio or satellite.

What Types of Columns/Attributes Should I Expect When Working with This Data?

The number and type of data recorded through animal tagging is vast. Researchers start with the species, age, tagging location, individual animal ID, and a contact person. Then, at least for the newer satellite and radio-communication trackers, researchers record real-time movement data.

Additional data may include acceleration speed, altitude, terrestrial magnetism (to record the exact location of the animal in place of GPS), even barometric or hydrometric pressure. In other words, the recording device can be tailored to the type of animal being studied for exact data.

What Is This Data Used For?

The many uses of animal tracking data include species conservation, animal welfare, and animal research purposes. It also supports anti-theft, anti-poaching, and anti-smuggling efforts.

How Should I Test the Quality of Animal Tagging/Wildlife Tracking Data?

To ensure the quality of your animal tagging data, be sure that your sensors or tags are in good condition before use. Also crucial is the update frequency of your data feed: make the data recorded as thorough and as close to real-time as possible.

In this data category, you may also find it very useful to physically go out into the field to capture, re-capture (if applicable), and just physically observe the wildlife.

Interesting Case Studies and Blogs to Look Into

ZoaTrack: open-source animal tracking data platform
NOAA: U.S. Animal Telemetry Network

Tangible Examples of Impact

Orbcomm’s satellite connectivity is critical to enabling AWT to track and monitor animals in their natural habitats. Orbcomm’s IoT devices can withstand complex environments, extreme weather conditions and tough terrain, which is often dusty, muddy and covered with dense forests. In addition, Orbcomm’s devices are highly reliable in the field, which is extremely important given the extensive costs, resources and logistics involved in putting tags and collars on the animals AWT tracks.

SatellitePro ME: Africa Wildlife Tracking uses Orbcomm satellite tech for conservation efforts

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