Behavioural events that are important for understanding sociobiologyand movement ecology are often rare, transient and localised, but canoccur at spatially distant sites e.g. territorial incursions andco-locating individuals. Existing animal tracking technologies, capableof detecting such events, are limited by one or more of: battery life;data resolution; location accuracy; data security; ability to co-locateindividuals both spatially and temporally. Technology that at leastpartly resolves these limitations would be advantageous. Europeanbadgers (Meles meles L.), present a challenging test-bed, withextra-group paternity (apparent from genotyping) contradictingestablished views on rigid group territoriality with little social-groupmixing.2. In a proof of concept study we assess the utility of a fullyautomated active-radio-frequency-identification (aRFID) system combiningbadger-borne aRFID-tags with static, wirelessly-networked,aRFID-detector base-stations to record badger co-locations at setts(burrows) and near notional border latrines. We summarise the timebadgers spent co-locating within and between social-groups, applyingnetwork analysis to provide evidence of co-location based communitystructure, at both these scales.3. The aRFID system co-located animals within 31.5m (adjustable) ofbase-stations. Efficient radio transmission between aRFIDs andbase-stations enables a 20g tag to last for 2-5years (depending ontransmission interval). Data security was high (data stored off tag),with remote access capability. Badgers spent most co-location time withmembers of their own social-groups at setts; remaining co-location timewas divided evenly between intra- and inter-social-group co-locationsnear latrines and inter-social-group co-locations at setts. Networkanalysis showed that 20-100% of tracked badgers engaged ininter-social-group mixing per week, with evidence of trans-bordersuper-groups, that is, badgers frequently transgressed notionalterritorial borders.4. aRFID occupies a distinct niche amongst established trackingtechnologies. We validated the utility of aRFID to identifyco-locations, social-structure and inter-group mixing within a wildbadger population, leading us to refute the conventional view thatbadgers (social-groups) are territorial and to question managementstrategies, for controlling bovine TB, based on this model. UltimatelyaRFID proved a versatile system capable of identifying social-structureat the landscape scale, operating for years and suitable for use with arange of species.
|Titolo:||An active-radio-frequency-identification system capable of identifying co-locations and social-structure: Validation with a wild free-ranging animal|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|