After a long absence without being located, Tona was thankfully found again recently. She is wearing a tracking collar that is collecting valuable data on her movements and her activity. The data was successfully downloaded in the field via a handheld device when within transmission range of her collar. We look forward to analysing this information and discovering what she has been up to for the past several months. An exciting development is that Tona is not alone and was spotted with 3 other wolves by Professor Kusak.
The latest Wolf print is out. This time my article is about the development of wolf pups. I hope you enjoy it.
The Wildlife society have released some video’s from their conference presentations. Here’s a link to a 2012 presentation by my American colleague Suzanne Stone. The presentation is about the past 5 years of work conducted on the wood river wolf project by defenders of wildlife. I worked on the project in 2011 and was very glad to be able to contribute to this fantastic work.
I finally managed to get the time to update the past projects section and organise some of the highlights from my time working in Bulgaria. I hope you enjoy them.
Here’s my first attempt at a compilation video of my last field trip to Croatia. I hope you all enjoy it.
Dr Brad Purcell is a Dingo researcher from Australia and I was lucky enough to meet him when he came to work with us whilst I was in America. He has made a video about his time in America as part of his Churchill fellowship. Part one was Brads visit to the Defenders of wildlife project I was working on last year. Enjoy!
Check out the latest copy of Wolf Print with an article about my research in Croatia
Meet Tona. She is a 3+ year old female wolf weighing in at 29kg. She is suspected to have been dispersing through the Snježnik pack territory when she was fitted with a tracking collar. Here’s hoping she will do well and provide us with lots of data. For my part of the work the collar will be collecting a reading every five minutes about how active she has been. Her locations will also be collected via GPS on a regular basis.
OK folks! Here are a few photo’s from my latest field trip to Croatia to wet your appetite before I talk about the project and the work we have conducted so far in the next issue of Wolf print. They are taken all over the place mostly between Gorski Kotar and the Velebit mountains as we covered a lot of miles tracking down locations and evidence of various different wolf packs. I have also thrown in a couple of nice photo’s we recently got from some of the camera traps we set up in locations we found evidence of wolves whilst I was in Croatia.
Here are some snaps of the field work and a few nice ones of the lovely Croatian Forests:
Monitoring the activity patterns of large mammals, particular elusive species such as the wolf is rather difficult. In order to do so we need to collect information unobtrusively and remotely as direct observations are very rare. One of the major techniques for this has been telemetry tracking collars worn by individual animals. This work still constitutes a great deal of the information utilised by the team at Zagreb. My work uses the activity data produced by the motion sensors in the collars.
In the past, monitoring animal activity using VHF (Very high frequency) telemetry collars was very time consuming and it was hard to obtain good volumes of data that wasn’t daytime biased. I have previously spent time monitoring activity this way and I can tell you that listening every 15 minutes during the night for days on end is pretty tiring. It was also only previously possible to know if the animal was active or inactive. With the progressions of modern technology a huge amount of data is now available from modern tracking collars with motion sensors. Not only do modern collars produce a data output for activity every 5 minutes but the output is also an incremental score (0-255) dependent on the amount of movement the collar experiences in either a forward or side to side motion depending on what you want to look at.
Back in 2011 I went to Croatia to calibrate the data produced by tracking collars and identify 3 levels of activity type; Resting, walking and running. These behaviours cover most major wolf behaviour and give more information about wolf activity than was previously possible. In short, the data collection involved fitting tracking collars to wolf sized dogs and lots of running, walking and resting to collect data outputs. We then examined and analysed how the scores obtained matched up to the different types of activity being performed. The work was relatively successful and we now have a method of identifying wolf activity type from the data sets collected from wolves wearing tracking collars in Croatia.
Here are a few pictures from the trip: