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Wildlife collars offer insight into behavior of animals in the wild


Narrator:       This is Science Today. A wildlife ecologist and an animal physiologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, are collaborating on a project to find out how behaviors seen in wild animals actually correlate with wildlife collars used to track them.

Wilmers:        There's an accelerometer which measures the accelerations of the collar, which allows us to get at the behavior of the animal: when they're running, when they're walking, when they're sleeping. And then there's a magnetometer, which is a three-axis digital compass, which allows us to know in which direction that animal is heading at all times.

Narrator:       Wildlife ecologist Chris Wilmers explains that this data gives researchers a better idea of how human-caused development may impede wild animals' behavior.

Wilmers:        So by putting these collars on animals in captivity and filming them walk and run and eat, we can then match that up to the accelerometer data we get from those animals so that when we get data back from animals in the wild, we know exactly what they're doing.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.