The Secret Lives of Wild Animals — Text-only | Flash Special Report
ZebraNet is an extremely energy-efficient system that uses global positioning system (GPS)-enabled collars to track networks of animals. Each ZebraNet collar functions as a wireless computer that logs and transmits information about its wearer’s location, movements and encounters with other collared animals every eight minutes. As two collars come into close proximity, they transmit all of their stored information to each other. By sending and receiving data from other tracked animals, each collar acts like a mobile base station. Information from one collar yields data from many animals.
For watering trough surveillance studies, researchers designed a camera system with deep-cycle batteries for power, infrared illumination for nighttime recording and time-lapse VCR for image recording. A metal housing protects the components from curious animals.
A Plains Zebra wears a ZebraNet tracking collar around its neck. The collar’s batteries recharge using embedded solar cells.
Pei Zhang, Princeton University