As a child, I always loved to visit the zoo. I could observe the tigers for hours, enjoy the monkeys as they played, admire the exotic birds, and watch the elephants as they wandered through their pens. Zoos and wildlife reserves have become safe havens for some of this world’s endangered animals. Protecting them, monitoring their health, and researching their needs have become priorities to those dedicated to preserving endangered species.

Black Panther

Black Panther

GPS monitoring of animals for research purposes has been used frequently. In Florida, panthers in the Everglades National Park have been monitored since the 1980s. Panthers are fitted with collars and released so that park officials can track their population and habits. Through GPS monitoring, researchers have been able to witness an increase from about 30 panthers to over 100.

GPS monitoring is also used to learn about and protect endangered species. A wolf in Colorado is being monitored on her over 1,000 mile search for a mate. In an effort to research wolf activity, a number of wolves in Utah and Wyoming have been fitted with GPS collars and tracked. The wolf has recently been removed from the endangered species list, but concern about its activities is still high enough for tracking to be necessary.

One study in Washington State focuses on the Canada lynx, a cat listed as threatened in the Endangered Species Act. Captured lynx are fitted with GPS collars and are then released. Scientists monitor the lynx and study their habits, trying to find out how to help and protect them before it’s too late.

One zoo is using GPS tracking on its African elephants to monitor their movements and health so that it can determine how to best provide for the elephants. The zoo hopes to be able to extend the life of its elephants by using the research results, and since there are only about 300 elephants in North American zoos and only a few sanctuaries for elephants worldwide, the results of the study can make a huge difference to the future of elephants.

Protecting endangered species is an important responsibility. Whether wolves, lynx, panthers, elephants, tigers, crocodiles, caribou, or some other endangered or threatened animal, scientists want to do everything possible to research the disappearing species in order to protect them. GPS monitoring offers a way to effectively track and study endangered animals while letting them remain in their natural habitats whenever possible.

Categories: News
Tags: animals , safety