BELLING THE BIG CAT

Posted by: Hitesh Kamaliya on

Soon-to-be-fitted GPS collars will not just help record lions' position in Gir but also their body temperature and heartbeat 

   Soon, forest department will be able to record body temperature and heartbeat of big cats in and around Sasan Gir. The forest department, which has recently issued tenders for use of GPS in Sasan and nearby areas, has decided to use GPS-based animal collar system. Of the 411 lions in the sanctuary, the department proposes to collar upto 10 per cent lions, which is about 50 lions, in the initial phase.
   According to the tender bid, the animal collar should send position, heartbeat and body temperature of the animal with time stamping, at least once in a day, and
preferably 2 to 3 times.The government has proposed that the neck-band be adjustable, lightweight, low in power consumption and with a battery life of around one year, weighing around 1 kg.
   An official said the radio antenna of the collar must be embedded in neck band and should not have an exposed end. It may result in injury, hindrance for the lion while moving around in the forest. Officials said as per specification, the vendor setting up GPS system will have to set up a radio network which should automatically capture data transmitted by collar and deliver data it to control room set up at Sasan headquarters. 
   There are 550 waterholes and few natural water bodies in Gir which provide water to the wild animals. Almost all animals visit these waterholes once a day. The government proposes to establish VHF/UHF radio network infrastructure-based access points around these locations.