The accessibility of potential food and water resources might not only depend on seasonality alone. Indeed, the challenging topography of the Kunene area in Damaraland may force animals to follow narrow corridors that connect remote food patches. These connecting corridors, that also facilitate the dispersal of individuals between remote populations, might be affected or impeded by human activities, such as fencing, grazing livestock and hunting pressure. To gather accurate information on annual and diurnal activity patterns and migratory routes and to determine which factors affect most the spatial use of oryx, we plan to fit GPS collars on selected oryx individuals.
The used GPS collars will not only provide accurate information on the position and movements of individuals, but also record many more aspects of the animals' behaviour. A two-axis logger records every movement of the neck/head line. Thus, we will gather infomration on whether individuals have their heads upright or directed towards the ground. This will enable us to estimate the time animals devote to vigilance, movement and feeding. In addition, ambient temperature loggers will record the climatic conditions to which animals are exposed. All this information will be transmitted to a remote computer, where we can access the information on a daily basis.
More information about the GPS technology is available here.