The Bioacoustics Lab, in collaboration with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is working on a pilot project to test the use of miniature collar-mounted audio recorders to study the behavior of terrestrial carnivores, including gray wolves.
ORCAA, in collaboration with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), is working on a pilot project to test the use of miniature collar-mounted audio recorders to study the behavior of terrestrial carnivores, including gray wolves.
The prototype tag is capable of recording audio continuously for three weeks, and is packaged in a compact and lightweight housing. At just 44 x 28 x 23 mm and a total weight of 75 g, the tag is a little bigger than a 9 volt battery. The first tag was recently deployed in eastern Oregon on a 2 year old male gray wolf of the Snake River pack and in the coming months we are hoping to deploy an additional 5 prototype tags. The goal of these initial deployments is to test the tags’ durability; that it can survive in inclement weather and withstand day-to-day wolf activity for extended periods of time.
Oregon wolves are protected by the state Endangered Species Act, and as the species recovers and expands its range throughout the state relevant research is needed to better understand the species and its impacts on other wildlife and humans. The project addresses some of the current research priorities of ODFW’s Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan including prey preferences, interspecific competition with cougars, and livestock predation events. If the tag housing is sufficiently durable and we are able to recover the collar, collected acoustic data will be analyzed for social, hunting, and ambient sounds which has implications for expanding insight into wolf behavior beyond basic location and movement information as derived from GPS collars.
More information about ODFW’s Wolf Program can be found here at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/Wolves