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Monitoring options for terrestrial mammals

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There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing the best technology and equipment to monitor terrestrial mammals. To ensure that you’re making the best choice for your study, we recommend that you speak with a Lotek representative.

Option 1: We'll call you.
Start by using our Project Profile form to send us the details of your study. Once you complete the form and click the Send button, a Lotek representative will contact you shortly to discuss your project and recommend the best system, based on the details that you've provided to us.
Option 2: You call us.
Start by reviewing the product descriptions on this web site, and then call us to confirm your choices and place your order. To better prepare you for that conversation, here is a brief overview of some of the main factors that will influence your choice:
Is your animal able to wear a collar that weighs at least 35g?

If no:  Currently, Lotek’s smallest animal collar weighs 35g.  If that’s still too large for your mammal, you should explore the devices for very small terrestrial mammals that are manufactured by our sister company, Biotrack.  Please visit their web site to select the technology and device most suitable for your species.

If yes:  Lotek offers a variety of collar types and options, so the next step is to choose which technology your collars should use:

Do you want to use radio or satellite to track your animals?
The answer to this question will depend on how convenient, accurate and cost-effective your data collection needs to be.  Radio is the simplest and most economical choice, but you need to be in the field at the same time as your subjects to detect their signals. Satellite costs more, but offers greater accuracy and more data collection options. 

If radio:  If you choose radio, you’ll need transmitters on your animals, and a receiver to detect their signals.  We offer two radio-transmitting collar models: LMRT Series collars for large mammals and SMRC Series collars for small mammals.  Links to both transmitter types can be found here.  Links to our radio receiver choices can be found here.

If satellite:  If you’ve selected satellite tracking, the next step is to choose the type of satellite technology:

If satellite, do you want to use Argos or GPS?
With Argos collars, you gain the convenience of having your animals’ positional data emailed to you from the field, but you will have to pay an additional Argos subscription fee, and the data is not as accurate as with GPS. GPS collars offer more options for data storage and retrieval.

If Argos: See our ArgosTrack and GPS Argos collars (min. 500g).

If GPS:  If you choose GPS, the next step is to decide whether you want store-on-board collars, or collars with remote access to data:

If GPS, do you want store-on-board collars, or collars that also offer remote access to data?
Can you wait until the end of the study and the recovery of the collar to retrieve your data?  Or do you need the data during the study, while the animal is still wearing the collar?  If you can wait, then our store-on-board GPS collars are a more economical choice.  If you need ongoing remote access to the data, then you’ll be interested in the GPS collars that also include one or two ways to retrieve the data while the collar is still in the field.

If store-on-board: See our GPS 3300 Series (min. 200g) collars.

If remote access: If you need remote access to your GPS data, the next step is to determine what kind of access you’d like:

If remote access, will there be GSM cell coverage in the study area?
If so, you can consider our WildCell collars, which retrieve data via your GSM cell phone. If not, then you’ll need to choose another method of remote data access.

If yes:  See our WildCell Series (min. 500g) collars.

If no:  If cell phone communication is not possible or desired, the next step is to choose another remote access option:

If remote access (but not GSM), do you want one way to access your data, or two?
Lotek GPS collars utilize different technologies to access the GPS data while the collar is still on the animal. Access technology options include Argos, UHF, GSM and Iridium, some of which can be used together on the same collar.

If one remote access option: See GPS 7000 Series (min. 300g) collars.

If two remote access options:  See GPS 8000 Series (min. 450g) collars.

Other considerations ...
There are also other factors that may affect your choice of technology and collar options. Please consult with your Lotek representative about additional factors such as:

UHF or Iridium or GSM or Argos or Globalstar?  Each method of remote data retrieval has its advantages and limitations.  For example, you might use Iridium in circumstances where the animals are remote, the animals migrate long distances, and you want two-way communication from your office.  Or you may use UHF if you’re in an area where you can detect the study subjects by antenna on the ground or by plane.

Drop-off required?  Most of our collars can be fitted with a drop-off mechanism, allowing you to recover your collars without the complexity and expense of recapturing each animal.  See our Drop-off Mechanism page for more details.

Accuracy?  Your choice of technology will also be influenced by how accurate the data must be.  For example, because of its greater accuracy, GPS is better suited to fine-scale movement studies.  Argos is better for tracking large-scale migrations where precision is not as much of a priority.  You can also choose a combination of both. Ask your Lotek rep for details.

Collar belt shape?  Belt shapes and sizes will vary depending upon the size of your species, whether it’s a carnivore or an ungulate, etc

What exact species?  We can often tell you about other customers’ experience with Lotek equipment on a specific species.

If you’d like a Lotek representative to help you choose the best collar for your study, you can either use this Project Profile form to send us the details of your study, or simply contact us by email or telephone.  We look forward to hearing from you.