Fauna Tracking System

Posted in Monitoring

cabras llanosThat Fauna Tracking System is based on the one applied in the Peñalara Natural Park for 15 years and whose versatility to gather hunting fauna data on a continuous basis in a large extension such as El Paular Valley (20.000 hectares) has been highly recognized. The Tracking System will be used by the Forest Guards and the National Park technical staff, highlighting its easiness and effectiveness to obtain a large amount of information with no much effort. The Forest and Environment Agents have been considered as a staff very adequate to use those methodologies, due to their permanent presence in situ, their knowhow at the ground level and the available infrastructure (vehicles, binoculars, gps, etc.).

Precisely, the Tracking System is based on a Field Book including three types of data sheets compiling all the information related to the ecology and the reproductive biology of the fauna species.

  • Field Agenda: that sheet compiles data in a general manner gaining their real sense along the year. The objective is not to show the area in an exhaustive way, but to obtain knowledge on a regular basis, compiling mainly qualitative data such as the sex’s proportion, the population structure, the recruitment rates, the reproductive cycles, the distribution, the activity rhythms etc. The first consequence of that sheet is the completion of a yearly distribution map for every fauna species. Its main feature is continuity, gathering data during the whole year without supposing an extra effort for the guard tasks.
  • Intensive Census: there are census methodologies which provide information related to densities and real dimensions. The methodology is based on the system of itineraries and fixed observation points selected through a stratified sampling. In its planning it is necessary to control either the determinant habitat factors for the space distribution of the individuals, visibility, aggregation etc. or the factors associated to the species, phenology, reproductive cycle, circadian rhythm, etc. They are made in the fall through walking routes and observation points. To treat that information we use the program “Distance 6.0” registering basically the distance to the individual or the observed group.
  • Dead specimen sheet: the information related to dead specimen, generally killed through the hunting activity is included in a third sheet. That way we obtain data related to biometrics, physiology, genetics, sanitary condition and any other aspect of interest of the species biology.

cuaderno cybertrackWith the continuous tracking, the intensive census and the samples gathering, we obtain yearly data related to population structure, sex ratio, and sanitary condition of the different populations. For species such as the ibex or the boar have been developed the Population Control Ordering, that means the selection of periods, modalities and areas for the populations control.  The dead specimen might leverage the dunghill management, with the implementation of new feeding areas for the ghoul species.

For its implementation at the National Park, the Field Book which was originally paper designed, has been adapted to a digital format, avoiding that way all the processes of books deliveries, photocopies and sheet data transcription to the central database.

Among the available programs for the mobile devices, it has been chosen to design the Book the Cyber Tracker application due to three main reasons: firstly, it is a free software; secondly, it works with Android, the most common operative system for mobile devices; and thirdly because it is an application easy to use and specifically designed to track fauna in large protected spaces.

Cyber Tracker was designed to register large numbers of observations geographically referenced, in an easy and quick way. The observations might be simply introduced through single and multiple selection lists. Texts fields and numbers might be also introduced with conventional keyboards. The Cyber Tracker icons interface was originally designed for illiterate trackers; therefore it is an application easily adaptable for people not familiar with the mobile devices usage.

That application has also desk software, therefore its design and updating is relatively simple. Additionally the desk application allows the access to the cartographic information, and then the observations data can be read automatically.

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