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Time to reconsider a long held belief about wildlife tracking collars?

Since before I became involved in the business of manufacturing electronics for wildlife research (1979) it has been widely accepted that most mammals are fine carrying an additional 5% of their body weight in the form of a tracking device.  Why is this accepted?  Is it because that for the last 40 years animals generally survive a few years wearing a collar that heavy?  Is that a good reason to accept this 5% limit?  I don’t think so.

When I communicate with potential GPS collar users there is a trend for the inquirer to request a product that maximizes battery life and maximizes the number of GPS positions possible from the product in question.  That makes perfect sense, the more data the better.  But it’s time to think about not maximizing the weight based on this old fashioned 5% rule.  I have a dog that weighs 5 kg.  Using the 5% rule she should be fine carrying a 250 gram collar.  I think that’s totally insane and not just because she’s my pet dog.  That is too much weight and too much bulk.  It’s 2011 not 1971, let’s start getting these weights down, the technology is there, it’s just a matter of changing a widely held and old fashioned belief.

Quintin


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