Newspaper Article 2001 – On track for success

On track for success

A Havelock North firm has developed a reputation as a world leader in producing devices for tracking animals.

Sirtrack exports up to 500 tracking devices a week to more than 50 countries throughout the world.

The devices are designed to fit on animals of all sizes –  from weta to elephants.

Sirtrack manager Dave Ward said demand for the devices was on the rise.

Signals spell worldwide success

Today business

The call of the wild is being heard loud and clear around the world thanks to revolutionary tracking devices built in Havelock North firm.

Sirtrack, a subsidiary of Landcare Research, has been producing devices to track and monitor of forms of wildlife since 1986.

Sirtrack manager Dave Ward said the devices were produced in Hawke’s Bay and marketed world-wide on the internet and at global wildlife conferences.

The firm exports the tracking devices to more than 58 countries and has a multi million-dollar turnover.

Mr Ward sais [says] demand was seasonal but was growing all the time.

“Some weeks we sell as many as 500, other weeks it’s less than 100.” he said.

The devices are priced from $195 to $5000.

New Zealand’s low dollar value and the wide range of tracking devices the firm produced were two factors that attracted buyers, he said.

The “state of the art transmitters”‘ not only track an animal, using VHF frequencies and satellite technology, but can also monitor their heartbeat, temperature and “even tell exactly when an animal died”.

One transmitter has been designed to be disguised in crocodile food. It can sit in a crocodile‘s stomach for up to two years.

Some of the devices have to be assembled under microscopes because the resistors and other parts are small.

“If you drop one (a resistor) you don‘t waste time looking for them.“

Mr Ward said the tracking devices had ranges varying from 50 metres to 100km.

The devices have been fitted to 370 animals, including reindeer, tigers, penguins, wetas, albatrosses, kiwis, crocodiles and elephants.

About 100 kiwis are being tracked using the devices.

The transmitters are sold mostly to government departments involved in conservation and wildlife management.

“The product is highly reliable and we are very proactive with our customers.”

The firm employs 10 people and uses several local sub-contracting firms. Mr Ward said Sirtrack was one of the first companies in New Zealand to develop a website for selling its products.

The tracking devices will be pitched at a wildlife conference in South Africa in two weeks and in Amsterdam next month.

Photo caption – SIRTRACK manager Dave Ward with a range of devices being use [used] to track animals. In his left hand is a transmitter tor turtles, which can survive a depth of 1000 metres, and in his right hand a transmitter designed to stay in a crocodile’s stomach for up to two years.

Photo caption – THE RESISTOR, centre, a tiny component oi a tracking device is pictured with an average-sized resistor and the tip of a ball point pen.

Photo caption – SPECIAL SPECK: A tiny resistor used in a transmitter is dwarfed by a conventional resistor rating on a fingertip.

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Business / Organisation

Sirtrack Ltd

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Newspaper article

Date published

30 July 2001


Hawke's Bay Today


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • Dave Ward

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