How we can track wildlife: need, types and benefits

Wildlife tracking is a process in which zoologist and scientist observe the pattern of lifestyle of wild animal. Majorly large agencies also observe their lifestyle on large scale. Biologist use the way of tracking many years ago. Due to this method they capture the way of  living style and their habits. Today, biologist use the new tools. These new tools helps the scientist to determine lifestyle of wild animal and their environment. The tracking system also tells about the migratory pattern of wild animal.

Tracking gives information

  • How individuals migrate in other areas.
  • How they move across aquatic environment like sea and rivers.

This technique is very useful to track the animal. With the help of this techniques scientists tag the animal body with tool and find their position and movement.

The method for tracked animals has been improved like battery size reduced , communication skill improved  and other system battery developed with widest range. First time this method was used on the bird.

  • And later, in 1950 researchers use other scheme is radio transmitter to track the wild animals .
  • In 1970 Agros scientist provide a new scheme globally for tracking of wildlife .
  • In 1990, discover a new GPS system. In this system obtain high resolution power for tracking of wildlife .

Animals Tracking Technologies

Following the list of tracking technologies that are practical.

  • Radio tracking system
  • VHF Radio tracking
  • Satellite tracking system
  • Global Positioning system (GPS)
  • Radio telemetry
  • Animal tracking maps

Radio tracking 

Radio tracking technology exact determine the movement of animal and animal what is doing at that time? Due to tracking system scientist collected the data about animal. Scientist observe the day to day position of an animal. Scientist also observe the size and home range of an animal. Due to this method biologist also control the over production of animal and observe the bad impact of uncontrolled production of animal on environment and also tells about the individuals are ready for mating purpose.

In radio tracking two devices are used. Receiver that catch the signal and other receiver that catch the station signal . A transmitter is fit over the body of animal and send information in radio waves. The radio device is attached on the body of animal like neck , ankle etc. Information from device attached on animal body will received through detector. After that data has to analyze.[1]A Handbook on Biotelemetry and Radio Tracking (pp.143-159) Publisher: Pergamon Press Ltd., Oxford, UK and Elmsford, New York, USA  

VHF Radio tracking system 

In 1963 biologist use this technology first time . In order to use this device VHF transmitter is tag on the animal and observe the moment of animal. If animal as sleeping mood  biologist also know about the health condition of animal.  Once VHF device is attached on the body of animal this device transmitted the signal to antenna and receiver. Scientist picks up the signal and close to the animal. It is very useful method. This method like as car work as radio station transmit the signal to antenna.

Antenna and receiver picks up the signal and convert this signal in to channels , songs , and voice. Biologist use this method to locate the position and movement of animal in air, ground, water. This device is large and easily apply on large animal. But same changes  can be occur on this device. Scientist make it better because they placed under the skin of an animal.[2](PDF) Note on radio tracking tools and techniques | Sujit Narwade –

Satellite Tracking 

Satellite tracking just like a VHF tracking. Instead of  signal transmitting to receiver but signal sent to satellite. In satellite tracking scientist do not picks up the signal of near animal. In this technique the tracked of animal with the help of  computer. This technique apply on animal like turtle. This instrument is attached on the hard shell of turtle . Turtle go to water like sea water biologist will be able to locate the  animal with the help of signal transmitter attached on its hard shell send to satellite.

It is much easier process to track the turtle after swimming. This technique reduce the tension of scientist about the tracking of animal. Satellite tracking also captured the migratory movement of fish like trout, salmon and animal like wild dog and other wild  animals. They also apply on marine animals.[3] tracking/TRCK_Tracking systems for satellite communications.pdf

GPS Tracking 

It is newest technology to track the wild animals. It is very common in routine day lifestyle. GPS is advanced technology. It also apply to observe marine mammals. In GPS tracking method GPS device attached the body of wild animals. The receiver that catch the signal in the forms of wave from satellite.  We also called a receiver as a computer. The computer collect the data and scientist easily observe it. This type of technology is difficult to apply on small animal like bat. Because in this system large devices are used.

Today biologist used the GPS device to track the animal moment and lifestyle. Modern GPS device are smaller sized devices, has a solar power and easily attached to the body of animal. It can be easy to collect more information about animal behavior with the help of GPS technique. Due to this technique biologist can understand about wildlife and how wild animals to survive in environment.[4][5]GPS Navigation and Tracking Device | International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies (iJIM) ( 

Radio telemetry 

In radio telemetry system we observe  the position of birds. With the help of radio telemetry we investigate the  the behavior of migratory animals with the help of transmitter that attached on the body of animal. Transmitter is a basic tool that collect the data about the position, behavior home distance and population.

In radio telemetry technique GPS tracking, satellite tracking  mechanism is also used. Radio telemetry technique is more advanced technique and very acceptable. The main concept of radio telemetry to study the voice of an animal. Due to this purpose to track the sounds of animal . Transmitter attach the body of animal and observe the moment and sound of animal.[6][7]The Basics of Radio Telemetry (

Necessary Components  in Radio Systems


First of all , operator use transmitter. Transmitter are attached under the skin of animal . This transmitter transmit the special type of signal in the form of electromagnetic waves. Transmitter have special type of waves that detected by antenna. We chosen the Transmitter type according to the size of animal species. Scientist used best type of transmitter because they determine the position, behavior and migratory pattern of animal for their experiments and researches. Large animal require large type transmitter like in collars belt like form.

Other type of transmitter is tag on the ear . This type of transmitter are attached on the ear and detected the signal by receiver.  Light weight transmitter are also used. Adhesive transmitter are attached on the back side of animals. This type of transmitter are easily apply on small animal like bat. Subcutaneous transmitter are used in marine animals. And easily detected the behavior of animal .


Receiver is the device that detect the information from transmitter. It can be a computer or device that sensible for detection of signal submitted from transmitter attached to the animals body. In receiver an antenna is a special component that revive the signal. there are many types of antennae i.e., 

  • Omnidirectional antenna
  • Loop antenna
  • Yagi antenna


This instrument attached with the receiver that have ability to decode the information received from the transmitter.[8]1587059363.pdf ( 

Importance of radio telemetry 

The tagging instruments are used by scientist give the accurate migration process of animal. If biologist used the  radio telemetry for observing the animals. They learned many things which are important for animal. First of all, the group of animal are move from one place to another place for breeding purposes.

And second is they come back at their same place for birth process. For example : Sea cow near to extinct. Due to the process of radio telemetry biologist observe the movement of sea cow toward the other area. Due to this biologist suggest that sea cow need more protection because they are endangered species. 

Radio telemetry technique is apply on the small animal like bird. Scientist tag the bird and locate the position and movement of bird. First of all , Scientist captured the animal and tag the tool on animal. Use the aluminum band on the leg of bird and they also apply plastic band on the leg of animal. This method also known as bird banding. Radio tools can also tag on the back side of bird. Scientist actually find  the exact location and migration pattern of animal.[9]249334701.pdf (

Written by: Dr. Muhammad Mohsin Ahsan

Reviewed by:
Dr. Muhammad Tahir Ph.D. (
Post Doctorate

American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA