2013_Janssen_Azimuth52(8)_magazine_version.pdf (264.63 kB)
Tracking drop bears with GNSS
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-26, 08:49 authored by Janssen, V
For about 50 years, the tagging and tracking of animals has been a vital tool in the quest to better understand animal behaviour and ecology. The use of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technology has yielded huge advances in this field by providing accurate and frequent measurements of the distributions of many animal species. However, employing conventional GNSS-based animal tracking methods to study the drop bear (Thylarctos plummetus) is extremely difficult due to its habitat. The dense tree canopy regularly causes extended periods of complete GNSS signal loss, and sensors are often damaged during attacks on prey. This severely reduces the availability of meaningful tracking data and substantially increases the cost of drop bear tracking. Recently, an alternative, indirect GNSS-based approach for tracking drop bears has been presented. Rather than attaching sensors to the animals themselves, the prey is tracked. The drop bear population is then mapped by pinpointing the location and timing of attacks. This bush-path breaking research has attracted a lot of attention from Australia and overseas. This article summarises some of the feedback received from various sources and outlines the coverage the study has enjoyed in the media.