Predicting mountain lion activity using radiocollars equipped with mercury tip-sensors

Wildlife Society Bulletin
By: , and 

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Abstract

Radiotelemetry collars with tip-sensors have long been used to monitor wildlife activity. However, comparatively few researchers have tested the reliability of the technique on the species being studied. To evaluate the efficacy of using tip-sensors to assess mountain lion (Puma concolor) activity, we radiocollared 2 hand-reared mountain lions and simultaneously recorded their behavior and the associated telemetry signal characteristics. We noted both the number of pulse-rate changes and the percentage of time the transmitter emitted a fast pulse rate (i.e., head up) within sampling intervals ranging from 1-5 minutes. Based on 27 hours of observations, we were able to correctly distinguish between active and inactive behaviors >93% of the time using a logistic regression model. We present several models to predict activity of mountain lions; the selection of which to us would depend on study objectives and logistics. Our results indicate that field protocols that use only pulse-rate changes to indicate activity can lead to significant classification errors.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Predicting mountain lion activity using radiocollars equipped with mercury tip-sensors
Series title Wildlife Society Bulletin
Volume 27
Issue 1
Year Published 1999
Language English
Publisher Wildlife Society
Contributing office(s) Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center
Description 6 p.
First page 19
Last page 24
Country United States
State Florida
Other Geospatial Big Cypress National Preserve
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N