Group

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.

discussion

Mataki tracking tags—what's your experience?

I've read about the mataki tag with great interest, but I haven't had direct experience with them or heard from anyone who has. I would love to hear from those in the...

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Hi Joaquin,

The first versions of Mataki tags were open-source and the PCB build information was available online.  However the components for this version are obsolete and, if you can get them, are very expensive.

The latest versions of Mataki and the new Mataki-Lite are available commercially from my company and all the information is available at debuginnovations.com/Mataki.  My contact information is on the website if you have any questions.

Regards,

Dave

Hi Dave.
Thanks for your answer.
I saw the Debug Innovations website, the Mataki Little is very interesting.

Either way I am looking for open-source to be able to make our own transmitters because buying electronic devices abroad is very complicated and expensive for us.

Regards,

Joaquín

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article

Kākāpō Dreaming: A Wildlife Drones Adventure

Wildlife Drones
What is it like to track endangered species using drones? In this blog post from Wildlife Drones, Dr. Debbie Saunders travels to New Zealand to track the Kākāpō, an extemely rare and elusive bird of which approximately...

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article

Era of the Condor: A Species' Future in Recovery (Part 3)

Ellie Warren
In this three-part WILDLABS feature article series, we take a look at the various technologies used to fight the greatest threat to wild condors, lead poisoning, explore the innovations changing the ways we study and...

0
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discussion

Looking for a long term real time tracking technology for monitoring big game in South Africa

We currently use handheld radio telemetry, however for the amount of individuals we want to monitor it is not possible to continue this way. If anyone has knowledge of, or...

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@Sophie+Maxwell 

One point of clarification - Kineis is Argos.

CLS split off the management of the Argos satellite system from itself thereby creating the company called Kineis (a subsidiary of CLS). Kineis' goal was to acquire enough funding ($100m) to launch the 20+ nanosatellites by 2020, and the goal was fully funded a number of months ago. So now it's just a matter of manufacturing the satellites and launching them (one is already in orbit). 

I would disagree with your comment about "antenna size issue" with Argos because you can use a patch or a whip antenna. In addition, the whip antenna could be extremely thin and flexible such as using nitinol. With nitinol, for example, you can tie a knot into the antenna, and it would return to its regular state once undone. Of course with a whip antenna you do have a long wire coming out of the tag; however, that can be addressed with a patch antenna for terrestrial applications. Thus, it offers a flexible solution. 

I will also add that you can fill in those data gaps and in fact build a "terrestrial-like" network within the Argos framework by deploying a number of the Argos Goniometer stations. In that scenario you would have a tagged rhino transmitting to the Argos satellites, and as you know if a satellite is not overhead the message is lost. However, if there is an Argos Goniometer within range (tens of miles +/-) you will receive that message even if a satellite is not overhead. 

One last comment that I'll add is that the power requirements for an Argos transmission are a fraction of what is required from Iridium and/or Globalstar. Right now the lowest power output that I am aware of is 250mW; however, we expect to more than half that when the constellation is launch (70-100mW transmissions). I am not that familiar with some of the new sat tech in regards to transmitter design, output, etc. I suppose the one good thing about having an "old system" is that we know so much more about what can be done and what cannot be done. 

Anyways, happy to answer any questions you might have regarding Argos and/or Iridium. 

 

Dear Sophie,

I would like to comment directly on your post regarding your assessment and report about rhino tracking devices in wildlife conservation. I believe it is good to share thoughts and ideas on the WILDLabs forum about these topics, but people should be very careful when they are making bold statement with regards to performance of technology. Some elements in your reporting are highly speculative and lack detailed input from the actual users in the conservation field.

We find this quite concerning as you are not only misinforming people on the WILDlabs-forum, but you might also be providing your own administration (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs)with incorrect information.

With regards to the LoRaWAN based rhino trackers we like to set the following straight and we also raise some questions.

General

  • Did you have contact and feedback from people that actually have a personal experience in LoRaWAN based tracking devices for rhino in the field? As far as I know, the people you report about, do not have this experience. I recommend you to look for people in the field that do have this experience, such as park managers of African Parks and Peace Parks.

2.1) Satellite enabled trackers.

  • “Africa Wildlife Tracking are the most mature and reliable tracking solution”; How do you know this and what is your source? What numbers did you use to come to this conclusion?
  • Why do you name “Argos” CLS as a rhino tracking solution?
  • Telerax: “Cited by the community as reliable”; What are your sources here?
  • Ear tracking: Who is reporting that ear tag tracking is not an option? This is not a given, so please state your sources so we can verify this.

I realize your attempt is a light-weight update for DEFRA and not an in-depth investigative article, but this level of light-weight leans a bit more to very light-weight if the sources are not named. Or if the sources have vested interests. It’s unlikely that you’ll go into detail with regards to the sources but I find the stated information very superficial to be honest.

2.2) IoT Fixed Infrastructure Tags;

  • About your general comment on the “IoT Fixed Infrastructure Tags” – Why do you state that the costs for the infrastructure are “costing several £100,000s” – again, who/what is your source and how is this calculated?
  • “Leading solutions in this IoT space seem to be SMART Parks and Sigfox” – again, who is your source and what makes you think Smart Parks is leading? The same goes for Sigfox. For Sigfox I even think you need to identify the solution and not the technology, since Sigfox is “only” a network technology compared to LoRaWAN and is not a end-to-end solution.
  • Why are you including links to the websites of the satellite solutions and not to the Smart Parks solutions, even when this is as simple as www.smartparks.org.
  • Why are you reporting on the failure of Smart Parks rhino tags “however, there have been recent challenges with their newly miniaturized version, where 5 out of 6 units failed after a short time in Malawi. This could be an anomaly, as their previous versions worked well and we welcome further updates.”?; Who is your source and what did you do to verify this?
  • Sigfox: “We have heard some dissatisfaction with customer service and the capability to integrate data with other software and hardware solutions.” Again, who is your source and what makes you say this? Also, why are you speaking of “We”, as I understand this was a personal blogpost?
  • Cisco: What makes you say that Cisco “provided IoT trackers” and what is your source?

3) What are the emerging solutions?

  • Can you explain why CubeSats are the way to make rhino tracking devices smaller, cheaper and more secure? As you indicate: “Where there is great potential to bring smaller, cheaper, secure satellite tracking to solve these problems”.
  • What makes you conclude like this: “Whoever provides cheap tags, small transmitters, multiple gateways with super low costs data will win for wildlife conservation in this exciting new space.” What are your sources and what is the reasoning behind this? (deze zou ik niet doen)

I think a lot of your statements are debatable and not very well substantiated. I’m willing to go as far as to say that they are more damaging than providing solid information to the Wildlab-community and abroad. The community working on trying to find and build better solutions needs reliable information as this is already a very complex problem. Therefore, I would like to suggest that you improve the blogpost where possible with thorough and reliable information. I’m happy to assist you in finding the right information.

To get you started, I would like to offer you some key facts about what Smart Parks has been doing to make a rhino tracking solution:

  • In 2017 we have successfully deployed a LoRaWAN rhino horn implant into an Eastern Black rhino in Mkomazi National Park in Tanzania, and the device has giving location update for 2 years without any major issues. The sensor even continued working after it had grown out of the horn. This is a clear proof that a LoRaWAN Geoloc based solutions is perfectly fine for rhino tracking in situations where a LoRaWAN Geoloc network is possible. We have replicated these result in other parks in Africa. Please check our website and other sources for proof: https://www.smartparks.org/news/first-black-rhinos-protected-sensor-implants-horns/
  • In 2019 we have successfully deployed a LoRaWAN rhino horn implant into Eastern Black rhino in Liwonde National Park in Malawi. This new sensor does not use LoRaWAN Geoloc to update it’s position, but relies on GNSS (GPS). This allows for rhino tracking based on LoRaWAN in networks and areas that can not or do not want to use the Geoloc function. GNSS can offer higher location accuracy then the Geoloc method. Yes, we have had some issues while deploying prototypes into the field, but this is normal for these type of solutions. We now have a stable sensor in production that is working properly in multiple locations in Africa. Please also look around for proof and maybe start here: https://www.smartparks.org/news/holy-grail-in-rhino-monitoring-deployed-in-liwonde-national-park/
  • An important note I would like to add and something I believe is missing from your comments in general, is fact that we have started the OpenCollar Initiative, under which we have made the rhino LoRaWAN + GPS tracker completely open-source. https://opencollar.io/
  • Also, you are talking about rhino tracking solutions, however you only discuss the actual tracking devices in your blog post. Please also look at the Application level (what happens to the data) of these solutions, since there are also very important in the total solution.

I’m also happy to put you in touch with park managers who are actually working with the sensors on a day-to-day basis.

Hi Tim and also Thomas

Thanks for your comments. It is fantastic that there have been so many replies to this thread in response to the request for thoughts, clarifications and questions on this topic.

I’m available on email. You can reach me directly via WILDLABS messages.

Soph

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article

Tech4Wildlife News: SMART Mobile

The SMART Partnership
SMART is excited to showcase the features of their new data collection solution, SMART Mobile! Built around the specific needs of the SMART user community, this streamlined mobile tool allows staff in protected areas to...

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article

Announcing the 2020 CLP Team Award Winners

Conservation Leadership Programme
Our friends at the Conservation Leadership Programme are pleased to announce the winners of their 2020 CLP Team Award! Today, they'd like to feature some of the inspiring teams and projects that have earned this honor,...

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article

Innovator Interview: Hack the Poacher

Hack the Poacher
Conservation technology largely consists of two categories: tools to monitor and study wildlife and their habitats, and solutions to mitigate or prevent negative human impacts. The fight against poaching in particular...

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article

The Perfect Paw Print: Collecting Data with FIT

Ellie Warren
A couple months ago, we introduced you to the Footprint Identification Technique (FIT), a non-invasive way to build an identification algorithm from both wild and captive animals by photographing footprints. Today, we'...

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event

Webinar: The Next Generation Of Animal Telemetry

BOEM
Register now for this webinar on how BOEM and NASA are accelerating small satellite technology development to innovate new solutions for tracking large marine animals. This event will look at the next phases of a...

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event

WILDLABS Tech Tutors: Season One

WILDLABS Team
We've wrapped season one of Tech Tutors! Thank you to all of our Tutors, and to everyone who attended and made these episodes so exciting! You can find all of our episodes on the WILDLABS Youtube Channel, and find...

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event

Webinar: Non-invasive Conservation Genetics

Imogene Cancellare
Register for today's Conservation Science Webinar Series presentation, Non-invasive Conservation Genetics of Snow Leopards: a Review of Current Work and Defining Future Needs. Imogene Cancellare, PhD candidate in the...

0
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article

Get To Know FIT

WILDLABS Team
We're excited to welcome the WildTrack FIT group to our community! Today, we'd like to introduce you to the Footprint Identification Technique (FIT) and share how you can incorporate this tracking method into your field...

0
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article

Era of the Condor: A Species' Future in Recovery

Ellie Warren
In this three-part WILDLABS feature article, we'll take a look at the various technologies used to fight the greatest threat to endangered condors, explore the innovations that may change the way we study and understand...

0
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article

Talking Tracking with Xerius

Ellie Warren
How does tracking technology meet the many challenges specific to monitoring birds within their home ranges and over long distances during migration? WILDLABS community member Virginie Perilhon from Xerius Tracking...

0
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article

WILDLABS Tech Hub: WWF PandaSat

WILDLABS Team
At the 2018 London Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference, we announced the WILDLABS Tech Hub, an accelerator programme created to support the development and scaling of groundbreaking technological solutions addressing the ...

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event

Online Workshop: Conservation Technology

Hack the Poacher
On Friday, March 27th, meet the Hack the Poacher team in this free online webinar to discuss the latest innovations in conservation technology. This interactive event offers the opportunity to make connections in the...

0
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article

Enter the Zooniverse: Try Citizen Science for Yourself!

Ellie Warren
Trapped inside during the COVID-19 quarantine and looking to engage with conservation science without leaving your desk? Citizen science projects like those on Zooniverse offer a great opportunity to impact scientific...

0
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discussion

OpenCollar Update 1

Time for a quick update as our team is working at full speed to have our first open source elephant tracker ready by the end of March.  As you might know,  we are...

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Hi Jackson,

Attached a few images showing how we attach the koala drop-off to collar material. The first shows the bare nichrome-acrylic plate with the nylon line in-situ. There's also a picture of an actual koala drop-off with the line exiting the plate. Lastly, the triple overhand knots (repeated so the knots are doubled over and secure) tying the line through the collar material. Normally, we hide the nylon by splicing the collar material in half, tying the knots, and then gluing the collar material back together so no nylon is exposed. 

Does all that make sense? Any questions just let me know.

Cheers,

Rob

also, we noticed our BoM was missing from GitHub, so we've added it now: https://github.com/Wild-Spy/OpenDrop/blob/master/Documentation/OpenDrop_BOM.xls

the drop off paper

https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/2041-210X.13231

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article

#Tech4Wildlife 2020 Photo Challenge In Review

WILDLABS Team
2020 marked our fifth year holding our annual #Tech4Wildlife Photo Challenge, and our community made it a milestone to remember. Conservationists took to Twitter last week to share their best high-tech snapshots from...

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funding

Call for Nominations: Tusk Conservation Awards

Tusk
The 2020 Tusk Awards are now accepting nominations of outstanding individuals who have made a significant impact on conservation in Africa. These nominations offer the rare and exciting opportunity to honor your peers...

0
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discussion

How to add a salt water switch

Hi – I’m working on developing a GPS / LoRa tracker for Diamondback Terrapins (DBT) with some colleagues. DBTs spend a lot of time in brackish water and we’...

0
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event

Hawai'i Conservation Conference

Hawaiʻi Conservation Alliance
The Hawai'i Conservation Conference is accepting abstracts in several categories, including emerging technological advances in the conservation field. This is an exciting opportunity to present your latest research to...

0
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event

Animove Summer School 2020

AniMove
Animal Movement Analysis summer school is offered as a two-week professional training course, that targets students, researchers and conservation practitioners that are interested to work or even have already collected...

0
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discussion

Curious about radio-tracking with drones?

Hi Everyone, Laura from Wildlife Drones here. Thought I'd just hop on here to say hi! We're an Australian tech startup that aims to improve how animals are radio-...

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Hi,

Does your system work with normal VHF tags or do you make a custom tag for use in your system?

Does the drone have to be piloted manually in a particular path or pattern in order to acquire the tags?

Or can your receiver be placed on say a fixed-wing high speed drone programmed to fly a lawn mower pattern to cover the maximum amount of area?

I'm also curious how you are doing the direction finding, since there are no visible antennas, but I understand if you'd rather not talk about this (c:

Interesting work, thanks.

-harold

Thanks for asking Harold, 

We work with any off the shelf VHF tag, you can use tags already in the field or you can order tags from any of the manufactureres, just have to be VHF of in the case of satelite or GPS tags have a VHF componment.

The drone is piloted manually, you can see the tag locations on the base station in real time you can reposition the drone to avoid terrain challanges to get the best results.

We cover a lot of ground, I can do the math, flight patterns really come down to the application you are looking at animal being tracked ect, happy to discuss specifics further at you convenience.

We have videos of our work on out youtube channel 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj1pcEJHkEPCy94AlT0U7HQ

The oringinal research papers are on researchgate     

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Debbie_Saunders

You can book a virtual demo with me, I'd love to hear about your work and ideas.  It would be great to give you a run through of the solution, flight patterns and user interface.

https://www.wildlifedrones.net/book-demo/

Robert

Wildlifedrones

[email protected]

+61 491 625 411

 

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discussion

Number of radio collared animals?

This is a slightly odd question; is there a sensible estimate (or intelligent informed guess) for the total number of animals carrying tracking devices (radio collars, GPS,...

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There are over 7000 tracked animals via Argos alone (monthly). More info here - http://www.argos-system.org/applications-argos/wildlife-monitoring/

 

Thanks Alasdair

So there are low double figure thousands just with the various services of satellite collars. Then surely high tens of thousands, maybe low hundreds of thousands with terrestrial GPS and conventional VHF.

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discussion

Radio telemetry

Anyone on here have lots of experience with radio telemetry for tracking birds? Just wondering if there are any tips on how to reduce signal reception through the back of the...

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Hi Helen, 

Two suggestions coming through over twitter:

 

A good start is to reduce your reciever's gain as far as possible.
Hopefully you can snuff out the antenna's rear lobe that way. Headphones really help there too. https://t.co/9Eg4gpHVly

— Faunatech Austbat (@FtechAustbat) June 5, 2019

sometimes it helps to put your body behind the antenna at about waist height. Does that make sense?

— Rob Appleby (@wildspyrob) June 4, 2019

Steph

Hi Helen, what tags are you using?  Position on the animal and what species?

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event

WILDLABS Virtual Meetup Recording: Drones

WILDLABS Team
The second event in Season Three of the WILDLABS Virtual Meetup Series is now available to watch, along with notes that highlight key takeaways from the talks and discussion. In the meetup, Craig Elder, Dr. Claire Burke...

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