Newspaper Article 2004 – Drop-off collar to aid animal trackers

Drop-off collar to aid animal trackers


A HAVELOCK North-based company has developed a new animal tracking device that minimises the disruption to animals while making it easier for researchers to monitor them.

Sirtrack, a subsidiary of Landcare Research, has designed the timed collar release, which can be programmed to fall off at a certain time. It takes away the need to physically recapture animals wearing tracking collars.

It is the first time such a device has been made commercially in New Zealand, and it could be used as a tool to learn more about rare wildlife and help control pests such as feral dogs or wild goats, spokesman Rowan Calder said.

It does away with the need to recapture elusive or endangered wildlife, and lessens the trauma to animals wearing GPS tracking collars, which in turn are handled less by humans.

Researchers were often plagued by the difficulties of recapturing animals, research and design engineer Colin Hunter said.

Mr Calder said that, with research, it was difficult enough just to get an animal in the first place to put a tracking collar on.

“So getting them the second time, it’s whether or not you want to put them under that stress again, there may be cubs with it,” Mr Calder said.

The new device is about to be tested as part of feral goat control in New Zealand, while the National Parks and Wildlife Service in New South Wales, Australia, was also planning to use it as part of wild dog research.

Researchers across the Tasman were also keen to get their hands on the release device to study kangaroos, along with dingoes – a pest species on Fraser  Island in Queensland.

Photo caption – Released: Rowan Calder with the new collar. Picture: KAREN HODGE

Original digital file


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Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ)

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Business / Organisation

Sirtrack Ltd

Format of the original

Newspaper article

Date published

31 August 2004


Dominion Post


  • Rowan Calder
  • Colin Hunter
  • Karen Hodge

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