Biologging / Feed

Real-time tracking of animal movements is enabling more effective and efficient wildlife monitoring for management, security, and research. As devices get smaller and prices drop, the possibilities for using biologging on a larger scale have grown, and so have the possibilities for increasing customisation to meet specific research needs. Likewise, real-time tracking of illegal wildlife trade, timber, and fish products as they move from source to consumer can shed light on trafficking routes and actors, as well as support enforcement, making tracking gear a powerful tool beyond the field.


Field testing of a radio telemetry system to be deployed in the sea.

Hello everyoneWhat kind of tests do you put aquatic tags through to get them field ready? Currently, we are testing a radio telemetry system. We are leaving the tags at 20...

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Hi Hari,

A simple test we do is pump the unit up slightly (maybe 1 psi), and check for bubbles.  It's like fixing a flat on a bicycle.  The positive internal pressure opens up and exposes any questionable seals.  Most of the leakage problems tend to be of the shallow water variety, which this test finds.  Deep water leaks are more rare, since the pressure tends to close up any cracks.

Otherwise the SOP is to lightly grease all O-rings and seals, and assemble the unit in the lab to prevent sand etc. from sticking to the greasy O-rings.


Thanks Harold

Are O-rings the only defense against water leakage you have? We are potting all the electronic components inside our tags with resin, but water still finds its way into the electronics. We are thinking of incorporating o-rings in our next steps.

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Telemetry and tracking Snakes

Telemetry and Tracking  SnakesHi everyone , am improving a project about spacial ecology on viper snakes of Lachesis genera. We dont know wich tecnology for tracking its more...

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Hi Huascar!

I have no experience with tracking snakes.

If I was you, I would start by having a look at a goggle scholar search like this:

Another place to ask for advice from experienced users would be to find some snake tracking researchers on 

Good luck!

Hi Huascar, how are you? there's limitations on snakes since their body form and behaviour, if you leave a VHF or GPS tag as an external fixation it will get tangled with roths and branches and it will fall, besides you have to suture and it can cause infections.

So far you only got implanted VHF transmitters, that's the most common, lonlasting and safe fixation method.

There's an alternative of using Tegaderm as a external fixation method but with ecdysis will eventually remove it.

any doubts please write me [email protected]

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After reading about pseudoranges and quick fixes in this paper:and doing a bit of digging around for "pseudoranges", I stumbled upon the following paper:and script:It could seem...

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I really agree with you that this technique of using pseudorange positioning is  important in animal tracking, and if this technology is open source it will really boost the development of DIY tagging greatly. Thanks for sharing!

Thank you very much for finding these materials. I also tried to find similar techniques using pseudorange positioning a few months ago, but unfortunately I did not find so many papers and such creative works at that time. Your materials seemed to open it up for me. most sincere thanks!

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Repository for 3D models of tracking devices

Hello everybody, This message is to start a repository for printable 3D models of tracking devices. It is never easy to get an idea of the size and...

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3D model of custome-made GeoTrak GT-65GS-GPS with slanted front face (adapted from

Known flaws: Size and shape of attachment loops are not correct: the actual material is too thin to allow for a strong 3D printing so I decided to make the loops thicker; the actual loop hole is also slightly wider. Base of antenna is shorter than actual one. Actual device has smoother angles and slightly convex top (where the solar panels are).

The 3D print will need to be sanded to smoothen the edges and to get the soft angles of the original design. I also designed the tag with a hole where the back solar panels should be: this is to add weight (metals nuts and bolts) to reach a final mass of 65g.

Attached files: 

gt-65gs-gps_slanted_3d.skp_.pdf: SketchUp 2016 file. Change file name back to .skp

gt-65gs-gps_slanted_for_3d_print.stl_.pdf: Printing file. Change file name back to .stl


Hi Yvan,

Steph directed me to this awesome resource. These units look so well made! Are you potting in the solar panels? Also, if you are interested, we've been working on a timed drop-off for avian tracking devices similar to this, which I am happy to share details about. 

Anyway, in the spirit of your efforts, we've uploaded some collar housing designs and associated .stl files to our Website here:

Shall add more as we design more. 

Great initiative Yvan!




I Rob, I just saw your message today (19 Jan 2023)! It's a bit late to reply but I wanted to make sure the tag manufacturer got the credit on the quality of their work. I'm not the manufacturer (just a user): these are made by Keith LeSage at Geotrak Inc, North Carolina, USA. We've beein working with them for about 10 years now and all their tags are as good looking as these. 

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Firetail Fellowships

I'm a software engineer/data scientist at Schäuffelhut Berger. We're developing Firetail a software for GPS and acceleration visualization and behavioral annotation.

We have just launched our Firetail Fellowship Program which may be a great way to get access to a full Firetail license for your student project. Let me know if you have questions or comments on this!


Interview for Technologies in Conservation

Dear Wildlabs community, my name is Nikolas and I am a Master's Student from Lisbon. Like many of you, I grew up with a great passion for the wildlife that we are surrounded...

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I'd be happy to chat with you if you wanted! My expertise is within passive acoustic monitoring particularly. The Conservation Tech Directory might be useful for you in identifying relevant actors within the space.

My original background is in ecology and conservation, and am now in the elected leadership of the Gathering for Open Science Hardware which convenes researchers developing open source tech for science. I am not working on a specific piece of technology right now, but am happy to contribute some higher-level views for your interview if that helps.

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Wildlife Telemetry Podcasts

While browsing through the producers of wildlife telemetry, I was wondering if there were any podcasts out there on wildlife telemetry and the companies.Indeed there is!I have...

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There is also this one:

featuring @ThomasGray_Argos 

Very cool, Thomas!

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extending battery life with solar panels

Is anyone out there up for a development challenge involving "smart" GPS and accelerometer collars with extended lifetimes (arorund a year), possibly involving solar...

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Hi Matthew,

I am not entirely sure how the collars have failed since we loose them after failure despite a big effort in recapturing the animals. In one case where we did recapture, the UHF long range communication was gone but data was downloaded after the collar came in near visinity of the base station. Ecotone makes a similar collar with a drop-off mechanism but I have not tried it.

Hi Peter, we manufacture solar powered Iridium trackers for birds, crocs/alligators and collars for various species. Our longest standing unit is a 55g unit on a Vulture and has been going for 4 years, providing data on an hourly basis. Our croc units include a pressure/depth sensor and provide details of depth and time at depth. Most of our devices include a VHF transmitter which is fully configurable over the air (you can change frequency, pulse duration, pulse interval and operation times - good for security).

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NomaTrack and the LoRa-DTN protocol

I just stumbled upon this...

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LoRA is registered in most places. With Starlink offering more and more service it would be possible in the future to transmit remote images through satellite once it is available in Madagascar. Power consumption of Starlink is big though.

Hi Carly!

Since LoRa and LoRaWAN are meant for low bandwidth data it is not really feasible to use for transmitting remote audio and image data. It could be very valuable to have metadata like battery levels and trap "levelness" sent back to get an idea of the power and physical state of the traps. I am dreaming of something like this for our remote camera traps used for monitoring arctic fox dens in Greenland. They are not rarely turned over by muskox and polar bear and we are consequently loosing important data.

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non-invasive technique to apply GPS collars without catching?

Dear all, I was wondering if they were "passive" techniques to "install" GPS collar or other GPS devices on a terrestrial animal ? Just a discussion...

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It's a start though! Always happy to see people trying to innovate. Also I thought the intent was that they wouldn't need to capture the bears like you would for a collar? We were imagining a passive system where you would have an attractant and tags could be applied to a bear by rubbing against something. 


Hi Brett! The original poster @antoineede surely asked for automatic non-invasive deployments and it was intriguing to see that someone actually made such a system for mule deer as @Rob_Appleby pointed out. Here is a prototype from their paper:

prototype collaring station

I would love to see the wolf example too @Rob_Appleby, if you can find the reference.

In the polar bear example it was never the (initial) intention that the animals should not be captured.

It seems that they are basically looking for an alternative and less permanent way to attch the ear tags.

Here are some prototypes:

Prototype burr on fur atachments for polar bears

Image from:

It looks like they are actually using these Argos tags from Telonics:

Argos Eartag Transmitter

I am generally a bit sceptical regarding a fully automatic tracking device deployment system. In most cases, a lot of measurements (size, weight) and samples (hair, blood, saliva etc.) are taken and observations (sex, age stage, breeding condition) are done and any meta data will increase the value of the tracking data itself tremendously. Also, one might want to sometimes decide not to tag some individual because of some unforeseen condition. I would rarely just want some random collection of tracks from a number of animals you know nothing about. What about the challenge of simply restricting the system to tag only the targetted species? I guess a deliberate use if AI and computer vision could get some of these data but it is going to make the development of the system quite complex.

I still find it very interesting to follow the developments.

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RFID Smart traps

Hello, I am trying to find information on 'smart traps.' I am planning to transponder urban rats with RFID tags. To estimate population size using mark-recapture...

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Hi Caitlin,

Years ago we designed a sort of similar 'trap', although it did not have the ability to actually capture/hold an individual. Our idea was a two capture occasion process: the first where animals in an area were physically captured and outfitted with RFID. Then, for a second capture occasion, we placed our 'traps' in the same area, with each trap having both an RFID logger and a trail camera. That way, we knew whether an individual caught on camera had an RFID tag or not (i.e. by comparing timestamps) and could work out if it was a new individual. Traps were actually tunnels made out of PVC drain pipe with two entrances/exits (so an animal wouldn't feel trapped), each of which had an RFID antenna fitted to the outside. The camera sat at the back of the tunnel so it could record animals entering or leaving from either entrance. Here's a picture:

The RFID logger we used was this (LINK) although it looks like it's sold out. It had an auxilliary daughter board that could be used for the second entrance antenna (LINK). Antennas we used were these (LINK). 

We never got to do a lot of testing, but in a pilot study it seemed to do ok. I am happy to share any relevant files etc., I have to build it all, but it sounds like you need something a lot more sophisticated. The logger from @sam_octanis looks amazing and so does Sarah Knowles'. 

I was always keen on exploring the next logical step of this process to which was actually a device that could deploy tags if an animal wasn't tagged. Our idea was something akin to an 'orchid' which deposited a tag on the back of an animal while it was a feeding source. We figured some sort of glue would probably work (e.g. UV cured glue) although retention rates would be interesting. Might be long enough for a two or three capture occasion study though...

Anyway, I am happy to help if I can and could even send some of our gear to @Freaklabs if you end up collaborating as they no doubt could build a very suitable system for ya.

All the best,


Hi Caitlin,

you might also look at this RFID logger sold by Labmaker:

Greetings from Austria,



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GPS tacking tag for turtle doves - any recommendations?

I'm looking for recommendations for a GPS tracking device that would work on turtle doves migration from UK to Sub Saharan Africa and back.  Thanks Chris

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Hi Chris,

I can say I've had some good experience with the Lotek Pinpoint tags that Rob mentioned.

You could also get in touch with ICARUS program at Max Planck (  They've developed a new tracking system, with their own first reciever on the ISS.  I think there are some limitations on the availability of their tags now as they're still ramping up their program.


Hi all! Just wanted to add in that @gracieermi and I maintain a conservation tech directory that includes all the tracking/telemetry companies we've come across so far - 

Currently listed doing a search of the directory - 

Cellular Tracking Technologies - 

Advanced Telemetry Systems (ATS) - ​​

Ecotone Telemetry -

GPS Collars - 

Lotek -

Microwave Telemetry -

Milsar -

Technosmart Europe -

Telemetry Solutions -

Telenax -

Telonics -

Tigrinus -

Titley Scientific -

Wildlife Computers -

Xerius Tracking -

North Star -

Migrate Tech - 

e-obs GmbH -

Africa Wildlife Tracking - 

Holohil -

Wildlife Materials -

Vectronic Aerospace/Vectronics -

Kiwi Track -

The solution with an ICARUS antenna on the ISS is on hold. It is planned that the GRACE-I will be the new satellite system to support the ICARUS: 

GRACE-I is planned to be launched in 2027.

This mentions possible intermittent solutions:

I am a bit puzzled there is no mentioning of GRACE-I on ICARUS' own website:

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Designing non-standard tracking collars

Hello,   I'm wondering if anyone in this community has designed tracking collars for species that a standard conventional collar might not work for, and if so, are...

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i've build collars for quite a few "non-standard" collared species. I tend to modify cheap consumer GPS devices to do so. It's a few years old now, but attached is a link to a video I made on modifying GPS devices for wildlife.

feel free to email me with any specific questions you have.


Have a look at this for an example of unconventional tracker designs:

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GPS collars for goats

Hi everyone, WILDLABS newbie, so please bear with me. Currently inherited a project focusing on making grazing better managed / more sustainable on a tiny (67 sqkm),...

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We were the world first commercial direct to satellite ear tag. There are collar base solutions that work direct to satellite. 

I have no experience with LoraWAN tracking myself but just wanted share a few relevant links for a LoraWAN wildlife use case and a few suppliers of LoraWAN trackers:

An alternative to LoraWAN could be UHF based systems like:


10 min fix intervals is quite high. You may need solar powered devices to keep up this high frequency.

Good luck!

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Margo Luminous Beta Launch: New Tracking Collar Manufacturer

Hi Wildlabs Community, Very excited to announce that we've released the beta version of our new Luminous tracking collar! Our beta release is already nearly fully...

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Hi @Lars_Holst_Hansen  I can provide an update. The initial beta units have completed testing and production of commercial units has begun. Low volumes so far but we are quickly ramping up.

The official launch should be in next month or so. 

If you would like you can email [email protected] 

To be notified early as soon as we have units available. 


Thanks Brett! I am not looking to buy anything any time soon but I am always curious to follow any new progress and developments in the market of biologgers.

Regarding the accelerometry I am curious to know which frequencies are supported. Have you considered magnetometry, too? This could obviously be useful in dead reckoning but also for inferring behavioural states (as shown in this paper).

No problem. I believe Jared was wanting to share more about our experience developing a collar on Wildlabs when there is time. I'm more on the mechanical end of things. Right now we are focused on reliability and longevity. Thanks for the paper I'll check it out! 

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How to build my VHF tags from the scratch?

Hi all, I was wondering if anybody has experience in building VHF-tags from the scratch. I couldn't find useful instructions online, so maybe anybody wants to share own...

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Hi everyone, I’m not sure if this thread is still active, but i recently had a few clients asking for VHF trackers for assets being transported, I’ve created a few micro transmitters the last few weeks, extremely lightweight, steady & strong signal, variable pulse options, using a .3mm Nitinol wire for antenna, as well as the smallest discrete smd components on the market, but best of all the transmitter is able to steadily pulse for approximately 310 days using a silver oxide 1.5V button cell battery (imagine the transmission time with a few thousand mAh battery if size/weight wasn’t too critical), with a 20ms pulse every 1.2 seconds, I’ve attached pics to show size. if anyone is interested in making your own just message me please, I’d be happy to share build schematics and BOM, I have also made gerber files for anyone that wants them manufactured!

The transmitter should of course be incapsulated but here’s a PCB-less version to show you just how small it is.

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Workshop Invite: Building Partnerships between Conservation Tech and the UK Space Sector

Hi everyone, In collaboration with our partners over at the Satellite Applications Catapult, we are hosting an in person workshop...

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Hi Steph,

If it's not too late, I'm very interested in this workshop.



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Shark Lab Data Analyst

This position (at California State University, Long Beach) provides data management & analysis support to Shark Lab research operations including shark tagging, active tracking, receiver data, AUV & UAV data...

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Water leakage in aquatic tags at deeper depths

Hi FolksDoes anyone have experience building their own aquatic tags? We are building a GPS-LoRa telemetry system. Although all the functions are working properly, we are having...

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I'll add -  avoid fast curing resins/epoxies for, at least, two reasons: 

1. The exothermic reaction between the two compounds can cause sensor issues (ie: heat).

2. Air bubbles will form (and cure) more easily in fast curing compounds.

Thanks Thomas!! We do use slow curing resins with no heat generation

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Conservation Technology Intern (Vietnam) 

Meredith S. Palmer
*New closing date!* WILDLABS and Fauna & Flora International are seeking an early career conservationist for 12-month paid internship position to grow and support the Southeast Asia regional community in our global...

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