Wildlife tracker powers itself as animals roam

Wednesday, June 7, 2023 - 12:13 in Biology & Nature

Replacing worn-out batteries in animal tracking devices can be a time-consuming, expensive duty for wildlife scientists. It’s stressful for the animals, too. Now, inspired by the technology behind a self-charging smartwatch, researchers have invented a tracker powered by the animals’ own movement. The approach could help researchers monitor animals across their entire life spans, making things easier for both the scientists and the creatures they follow. “Batteries are often the greatest limitation to development of animal tracking technology,” says Todd Katzner, a research biologist at the U.S. Geological Survey who has tracked wildlife for more than 20 years. “Any system that overcomes current constraints has the potential to be immensely valuable.” Many wildlife trackers are solar-powered. These don’t work for nocturnal creatures or for animals that live in the water, Sun-blocking forests,...

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