The use of non-invasive telemetry collars has become widespread, especially in larger reserves where animals can be difficult to find for monitoring and management purposes. The information received from the collar enables reserve managers, scientists and conservation students to easily locate the collared animal from the ground, as well as plot the animal’s territorial range. Collaring is also hugely beneficial where valuable animals are protected by game guards.
When monitoring takes place form the air, two aerials are fitted to the struts of the aircraft and are connected to a mixer box. With a simple left / right toggle switch and an earpiece in one ear, you can hear a beeping noise once the aircraft is in an approximately 5 km range of the collared animal. By orbiting 500 to 600 feet AGL, it is possible to narrow down the direction of the signal. If the signal is stronger from one side of the aircraft than the other, the animal is likely to be in that quadrant.Statistics collected while Bassair was actively involved in free-roaming Cheetah range studies with the De Wildt Wild Cheetah Project.
As the telemetry collars have a battery life they need to be replaced. Once tracked with an aircraft, the helicopter goes in to do the darting. The animals are darted and a new collar is fitted.
Fast moving and well camouflaged, it is extremely difficult to monitor the darted cheetah from the air.