Over 350 individual Canada Geese have been tracked with CTT’s patented GPS-GSM technology for wildlife telemetry, and the compiled location data span across the vast Nearctic wilderness, including metropolitan and suburban areas. The iconic and familiar species still hides many of its secrets from researchers. But with insights gleaned from long-lived transmitters, wildlife researchers and managers have more knowledge from tracking Canada geese today than ever before.
Before 2005, wildlife biologists studying Canada goose movement had satellite transmitters. This technology remains relatively expensive, reducing the funds available for more transmitters, data transmission, travel and field work. Also, VHF tracking is the old standby, but the researcher was limited to the geese you could get close to, on the days you are close to them. Though state of the art, these technologies, on their own, fail to show us a good year-round, highly-accurate picture of the movements of migratory waterfowl, or other animals.
What happened in 2005? Mike Lanzone and Casey Halverson developed the world’s first GPS tracker for wildlife that sent its data over the cellular network. This gave avian and other wildlife biologists a world-changing opportunity to see not only where an animal is, but how it got there, and at a much lower cost. Now researchers and managers can put more transmitters out on their species, and the budget for field work and related travel is greatly reduced. Most importantly, the accuracy of the locations is greatly improved over satellite and VHF only.
The key to getting long-term data is transmitter reliability. CTT helps bridge the knowledge gaps with a trustworthy and reliable GPS sampling schedule, even when thousands of miles away from cellular coverage. The GPS+GSM wildlife telemetry units from CTT allowed us to develop the unique CTT Activity Index(R) which helps to localize activities such as feeding and nesting. Specific research topics of crucial interest such as the mysteries of molt-migration and implementing management plans have come to a modern stage.