Saturday, June 11, 2022

GPS Tracking Collars vs Radio Telemetry Collars

Radio telemetry collars are used across the Channel Islands to monitor island fox survival. These collars help biologists locate an island fox in real time and they give a specific signal when a fox is alive and moving around. 

Fifty to sixty island foxes on each island wear radio telemetry collars. Most of these are sentinel foxes. FIF funds radio collars to monitor island foxes.

GPS tracking collars record exact GPS coordinates. They have an additional antenna (that black bump at the top). Location data is recorded at designated times or time intervals over a specific amount of days, weeks, or months.

See the GPS data comparing island fox movement and island spotted skunks on the same hillside.

"Date With a Fox" May 1, 2022 Brian Cypher, Ph.D., Director and Research Ecologist CSU Stanislaus' Endangered Species Recovery Program talks about how GPS data provided important information on endangered San Joaquin kit foxes and how this same technology can benefit island foxes.


Friends of the Island Fox is supporting two research projects starting this summer to investigate island fox territory and habitat use on Santa Rosa Island. 

Katie Elder will replicate a GPS investigation of island fox territory size that was initially done when the population was under 400 individuals. Will territory size be different with the current estimated 2600 island foxes? Have these foxes reached the island's carrying capacity?

Juliann Schamel will also track island fox movement and territory size with GPS collars. She'll integrate her findings on diet with how individual island foxes are moving in the environment. Do all island foxes have access to beach resources or are there distinct areas and resources used by individual island foxes?  

In combination, this will be the largest investigation of island fox movement and territory size ever initiated. 

Your donations make this important research possible. 

Please consider donating today