We describe an automated system that uses passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags to track movements of animals past specific locations. The system was designed to operate maintenance free for several months, be secure from vandalism and environmental damage, and record the identity, date, and time of passage of animals past a 2.4-m wide area. We used the system to monitor effectively the movements of 172 desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) through 2 storm drain culverts that pass beneath a state highway in the Mojave Desert, California. Four tortoises entered or passed through the culverts on 60 occasions. The system can be easily adapted to other species.
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A passive integrated transponder system for tracking animal movements