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A Critique of Wildlife Radio-tracking
and its Use in National Parks

Appendix D

Comparative Characteristics of VHF, Satellite, and GPS Collar Telemetry1.

Characteristics VHF Satellite GPS Collar
Collar Weight2 560 g 520 g 830-920 g
Initial investment per collar $300 $3,000 $3,000
Cost per 100 locations high medium low
Data retrieval potential high high low to high depending on likelihood of dispersal
Accuracy medium to high depending on effort ( 500 m) high; usually accurate to 20 m
Longevity ≤6 1-12 month depending on interval between location attempts 3 week - 10 month depending on interval between location attempts
Interference from weather high (aerial telemetry) none none
Interference from habitat low high high
Interference from topography medium high high
Intrusiveness after collaring high none none to high3
1 Adapted from Merrill (2002);
2 Collar weight varies by species and collar manufacturer; weights given are for wolves;
3 Depends on frequency of data downloading.

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