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When scientists want to track animals they use Global Positioning System. They use it to study where animals go. GPS stands for Global Positioning System.


The Global Positioning System (GPS) can track the movement of both land and aquatic animals. GPS wildlife tracking provides scientists with accurate data readings. It can help locate animals in the wild.

how gps wildlife tracking is done
  • People can track animals using radio receivers that tell them where the animal is. These receivers are placed on the animal, like a collar.
  • Radio receivers pick signals from GPS satellites. Each satellite orbits the earth twice a day.
  • The satellites send data to the receiver in the form of radio waves.
  • The receiver will calculate the animal’s geographic location and pattern of movement.
  • GPS receivers can store location data for future references. (Data from Rewire Security


GPS receivers used for wildlife tracking are often attached to collars. This is the commonly used method of tracking wildlife.

  • GPS tracking collars are usually fitted around the animal’s neck. Each species has a specially made collar that suits it.
  • GPS collars are light and don’t weigh the animal down. They let you know where the animal is.
  • It can be placed around the neck of an animal, such as a wolf, bear, or cheetah.
  • GPS tracking collars are put on an animal’s ankles too! Sometimes you need to do this with bigger animals like rhinos because their necks are too big for their heads.
Gps tracking birds


For birds and water animals, we use small radios-tracking receivers that are easier for them to carry.

  • There used to be a way to track birds using radio transmitters. Then scientists thought of a better way: they put a GPS on a harness and put it on the bird.
  • Like tracking collars people put on their dogs and cats, harness-attached trackers allow birds to fly freely from one place to another without experiencing any problem.
  • Scientists put trackers on sea turtles to see where they go. They use glue or resin instead of metal.
  • Leatherback sea turtles are different from other sea turtles. They have soft shells, so trackers are often put on the shell ridge. (Data from Conserve Turtles Org)


Animals like penguins, tigers, monkeys, and lions can have their locations tracked by people who want to see where they live. These wild animals can have atomic clocks fitted on their body. These clocks are used to perform calculations.

  • A GPS device can tell where an animal is by getting signals from 4 GPS satellites.
  • The purpose of the microprocessor in receivers is to make sure data is processed quickly.
  • GPS receivers calculate distance using time. The rate of radio wave transmission depends on the animal’s location.
  • There is a lot of information that can be stored on older GPS models, but they have to be retrieved one by one by hand.
  • In the new models, the location data can be sent from afar.
  • The GPS tracking of wildlife is fully automated. For most receivers, sending animal location data is simple.


GPS trackers can provide scientists and wildlife conservation agencies with useful information about animal behavior. GPS tracking has bountiful benefits on wildlife and the environment:

Benefits of GPS tracking
  1. Provides Data for Further Research

  • GPS trackers can collect a series of data that can be used for further research.
  • Scientists collect data, and they can use it to find out why animals do things.
  • Researchers can make a better environment for animals by using GPS wildlife tracking.
  • Animals live in certain places because of how it is there. We use location data to help scientists and conservation agencies know where there are animals and why they are there.
  1. Aids in the Study of Migratory Behavior

  • Animals like to go from place to place. They do this to find new food, new water, and new animals to mate with.
  • If you put a GPS tracking device on animals, you can track where they go. If you know where they are and what they eat, you can make the place for them so it’s like the natural environment. Then those animals won’t be endangered.
  • The information we get can tell what happens to the environment when species are introduced that did not live there already.
  1. Understanding Human-wildlife Conflict

  • Wildlife tracking systems can reveal how animals and human beings interact in an environment.
  • Animals become upset because more and more people are moving in, and they want to fight us. There is not enough room for people and animals. We are trying to use technology so that animals can find places to live.
  • Humans entering animal habitats endanger certain species. This can lead to food shortages as animals have limited grazing and hunting space.
  • GPS receiver data can be used to build fences around habitats to keep out humans and animals.
  1. Wildlife Protection 

  • Poachers and traffickers endanger wildlife. These actions have destroyed many species.
  • GPS trackers can help game rangers keep track of tagged animals.
  • Some receivers have motion sensors that can detect a stationary animal. So injured or sick animals will get help quickly.
  • GPS data can show poachers’ hotspots. This will allow conservation agencies to help stop them.


With the help of GPS trackers, wildlife conservation agencies can easily monitor animal behavior. Data retrieved from the Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers can help scientists make conscious decisions when studying endangered species.

Additionally, location data can provide conservation agencies with an accurate and deeper understanding of habitat use.

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