11.12.10

Waiting for the Next Pangolin, Jan 1st 2011

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We now have suitable RF tags with a longer transmission range, posture sensing and a battery life of over a year. These are ready in Mundulea to attach to the next pangolin we find, or to a rescued animal from elsewhere in Namibia which is being relocated. Once the animal is tagged, we then can track it using the standard Yagi receiver method, of course with the difficulties of being on foot in the bush with potentially dangerous animals at night.

But we also have the possibility of re-capturing the tagged pangolin to study its movements in much more detail with additional automatic GPS logging units, such as those made by Juergen Perthold, or of deploying camera traps near its dens etc.  Having a GPS log of an animal's track means that we can subsequently follow its path, e.g. to assess the habitats and insect species that it visited, set up camera traps or look for signs of its encounters with other pangolins.

Between October and mid-December 2010, exceptionally good rains of over 300mm had fallen in Mundulea. The ants and termites are active, and so therefore are the pangolins. However, the high grasses and vegetation cover are also rapidly growing, making the tracking of low ground animals challenging: patience is the key to pangolin research!

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