Over the past half century, wildlife research has relied on technological advances to gain additional insight into the secretive lives of animals. This revolution started in the 1960s with the development of radio telemetry and continues today with the use of Global Positioning System (GPS)-based research techniques. In the present paper we review the history of radio telemetry from its origins with grizzly bears in Yellowstone to its early applications in tiger research and conservation in Asia. We address the different types of data that are available using radio telemetry as opposed to using other research techniques, such as behavioral observations, camera trapping, DNA analysis and scat analysis. In the late 1990s, the rapid development of GPS collar technology revolutionized wildlife research. This new technology has enabled researchers to dramatically improve their ability to gather data on animal movements and ecology. Despite the ecological and conservation benefits of radio telemetry, there have been few telemetry studies of tigers in the wild, and most have been on the Bengal or Amur subspecies. We close with an assessment of the current tiger conservation efforts using GPS technology and discuss how this new information can help to preserve tigers for future generations.
- Global Positioning System technology
- Panthera tigris
- Radio telemetry
- Research methodologies