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.


Technical Difficulties: Tracking Thunderbird

Ellie Warren
In her article for the Technical Failures Editorial Series, WILDLABS' Ellie Warren discusses how the loss of one tagged sea turtle represents the wider challenges faced by conservation efforts, and how the collaborative...

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TinyTx wildlife Audio Surveillance

Hi Everyone, I realize I'm late to the game here, but I came across this forum and I think I can help you in a way. I own TinyTx Inc. ( We’re...

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Proximity detection in koalas

Hi Biologging People,  I am new to WILDLABS and excited to be here! I am researching the behavioural ecology of koalas in South Australia. I am trying to figure out if...

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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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I should say I presume it is UHF. Pawel is not particularly forth-coming about how it all works except that it uses a frequency shifting method to retain/optimise reception. With a Yagi antenna (supplied with the base station) I have had good downloads over a km away across a valley). Pawel claims that 5 km is possible but I have not had any line of sight situations that far. You kind of have to guess at the direction although I have had downloads about 300 m away through forest where I later worked out I was pointing the Yagi about 120° off the target. Downloads to the base station go faster than downloading that data to my laptop via USB2.

I would love to be able to load the base station under a drone and get my downloads that way but unfortunately my study area is in restricted military airspace :(.

If you guys ever get back into the GPS market you should definitely consider adding solar to the units. Would be great for your Dingos.

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 -

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R package for triangulation?

What R packages are you using for wildlife radio-telemetry triangulation these days? Seems there are a few available (I last used sigloc in 2016, but its no longer on CRAN)....

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This paper mentions some, and is just a great review on localization more broadly! I'd look into gibbonR and warbleR

Acoustic localization of terrestrial wildlife: Current practices and future opportunities (

This paper used Sound Finder -- Validation of an Acoustic Location System to Monitor Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) Long Calls (

And this one used a MATLAB script -- Tracking cryptic animals using acoustic multilateration: A system for long-range wolf detection (

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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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Dear Rob,

Thank you very much for your answer, really precious details here that I could not find elsewhere.

"This is aninterest of mine: passively attaching tags. I've long-thought weed burrs, perhaps with a bit of glue, could be used to attach devices. I am super keen to try out methods if you and others are interested. " :

Yes, we get the same ideas, nature is doing it for seed why we could not mimicking it with small devices. And for NGO and wildlife management project it will be cost-effective and could get information from very elusive species. It could also be more ethic and dramatically decrease risk presented by collaring. However, this technique would probably be used for short term to middle-term study.

As you are speaking about the i-gotU GT-120 device, here is a video of "homemade" collard that uses it. The problem is that Igotu does not send GPS info, so it has to be coupled with a VHF system in order to find it back but still very interesting:

I'm happy to share idea and other lite and friendly user devices, I'm not sure to be able to test it on my work time but definitely interested to try. I think it's one of the next step for wildlife location technology.

Hope other people will come in!

If the animal is truly elsusive, not knowing when the tag would fall of, where it would fall off, if I can get it once it falls off would be questions I would need to think hard about. If the tags are cheap, and the animals pick them up easily, so I can deploy a considerable amount of them, the decision would be much easier. But if the animal is rare and elusive, each data point would be valuable, so not being able to retrieve a tag, or a tag getting detached very quickly, becomes costly.

But I do ge tthe concerns of immobilizing animals, and the desire to avoid going through the stress of capture and immobilizing, being able to avoid that is very valuable too.

Hi Antoine and Egil,

Great points Egil and I agree that cheaper designs would be better as recovery might be challenging sometimes. I think Antoine has the right idea of adding VHF so there's a good chance to find them again. 

@Alasdair and I are hoping to have a lightweight long-range tag out fairly soon and we'll be opening up the discussion here as soon as we have a better idea of everything. The eventual aim is to have an inexpensive LoRa geolocation tag with an onboard GPS option that'll be more expensive (but hopefully still cheaper than most alternatives). More on that soon.

In the meantime, I've actually built and tested this tag: following the instructions and it works well. The receiver end isn't as detailed in the instructions, so a laptop in the field is probably a requirement in order to get data. But, it's fairly lightweight and cheap-ish (about $100 per tag without any housing). Could be worth a look.

More soon,


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Otter survival monitoring

I am wondering if anyone has ideas for river otter survival monitoring (no movement data needed) outside of implanted VHF transmitters. 

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Creating a global database for drift data from pop-up satellite tags

Hello all, My name is Arnault Le Bris and I am a research scientist at the Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. I have been working for several...

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You could use Movebank for this, stream the data into a study, manage sharing settings to make some public and keep others private if needed.  Lots of non-bird data in there!



You might also check out the Ocean Data Platform team at  They're trying to be a one-stop shop for ocean data and have recently ingested all the IOC data. EMODNet has an ingestion portal and data ambassadors who can negotiate data sharing agreements and anonymization/aggregation. Also @ThomasGray_Argos  data sharing agreements and data governance is something I work on and would be interested in talking more about the privacy/user data issues you mention. I;ve been thinking about the need for a data intermediary that can hold data safely, scrub PII, and then share it with open platforms so each sensor owner or small entitty doesn't have to negotiate their own data sharing licenses.

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WWF: Carnivore Collaring in Zambia

World Wildlife Fund
In this article, WWF's Whitney Kent discusses how radio collaring carnivores like lions and African wild dogs helps prevent human-wildlife conflict by acting as warning devices for communities and monitoring species'...

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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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I would reach out to Andrew Digby with the Kākāpō Project! They use "smart hoppers" that are supplementary feeders that only open for specific individuals based on their tags.

You might also reach out to Econode ( who make "smart traps." They use LoRaWAN to send notifications about if tracks are triggered but I'm not sure if they've incorporated RFID receivers into the system. They're based out of New Zealand. 

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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Event: The 7th International Bio-Logging Symposium

International Bio-logging Society
Submit your abstract by May 16, 2021 to participate in the 7th International Bio-Logging Symposium, held virtually this year and hosted from Honolulu, Hawaii on October 18th - 22nd. Find more details about abstract...

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Interview: Protecting Vultures with Telemetry

Dr. Corinne Kendall
In this interview with Dr. Corinne Kendall of the North Carolina Zoo, Dr. Kendall shares  how telemetry studies can help prevent vulture poisoning in East Africa, the conservation technology she uses in her work, and...

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Funding Opportunity: COVID-19 Science Fund

National Geographic
National Geographic is offering funding up to up to $50,000 for conservationists conducting research on how the pandemic has impacted wildlife and conservation work.  If you are interested in researching aspects of the...

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NomaTrack and the LoRa-DTN protocol

I just stumbled upon this...

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Very interesting! There has been a few projects - I think Open Collars has used this as well as Adam Ford from UBCO in Canada. 

One of the largest challenges is the different country-by-country regulations on drone use. Research in some countries is commercial use and requires a commercial drone pilot's license - most countries prohibit autonomous or beyond-line-of-sight fligt. Likely both will get will easier as regulations adjust to technology.

LoRA raw materials are very cheap. Depending on study goals and animals deploying stationary Lora base stations to download LoRA data locally and then connection through cell or satellite from the base station. 

Yes I've been talking with a few different people about how to set up a LoRA gateway and network of stations to pull data from acoustic monitors or camera traps. I'm very much on the conservation side of conservation tech though, so I have very minimal experience in the engineering and computer science side of things! I work in Madagascar and I'm not exactly sure what their regulations are (it may be difficult to find out too...).   

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.

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Getting VHF transmitters in a quick turnaround time

Hi everyone,  Due to an unfortunate series of events, I need to get 25 x VHF transmitters (just the pingers - no collar) on a single frequency in around a 4 week...

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Hi Kas,

Advanced Telemetry Systems has been able to get me transmitters in less than 4 weeks a few times.  It does depend on how busy they are, though, so not guaranteed.

Good luck,


Hi Kyler, 

That's great! Thank you for the lead - I'll get in touch with them asap.

Cheers, and all the best, 


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