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The usefulness of GPS telemetry to study wolf circadian and social activity

January 1, 2003

This study describes circadian and social movement patterns of 9 wolves and illustrates capabilities and limitations of Global Positioning System (GPS) telemetry for analysis of animal activity patterns. Wolves were studied at the Camp Ripley National Guard Training Site in Little Falls, Minnesota, and were captured via helicopter net-gunning. All study wolves showed nocturnal movement patterns regardless of time of year. One wolf's movement pattern switched to diurnal when he conducted an extraterritorial foray from his natal territory. All data sets with GPS intervals ???1 hour (n = 4) showed crepuscular movement peaks. We identified patterns of den visitation and attendance, estimated minimum distances traveled and minimum rates of movement, and observed that GPS location intervals may affect perceived rates of wolf travel. Global Positioning System telemetry was useful in determining when pack members were traveling together or apart and how long a breeding female wolf spent near her pups (e.g., 10-month-old pups were left unattended by their mother for as long as 17 days).

Citation Information

Publication Year 2003
Title The usefulness of GPS telemetry to study wolf circadian and social activity
Authors S.B. Merrill, Mech L. David
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Wildlife Society Bulletin
Series Number
Index ID 70025272
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization