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GPS tracking helps researchers manage, conserve wildlife

Narrator:       This is Science Today. In the last two decades, one of the primary tools in managing and conserving wildlife has been through the use of animal movement data. Researcher Chris Wilmers of the University of California, Santa Cruz's Puma Project, is using GPS collars to track mountain lions in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Wilmers:        It's got a very strong banding so that the mountain lions can't rip it off or chew it off if they have kittens. It's got a D battery to power the collar. This collar has a cell phone plan so it's got a SIM card in it that allows us to get text messages from the collar. You can download the data through satellite, through radio and through your cell phone plan. The most reliable thing to do though is to download it by radio because the mountain lions hang out in a lot of areas that don't have very good cell coverage.

Narrator:       The data, which is available online at, is used to understand puma behavior and how they are impacted by human development. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.