Research Equipment

The project ustilises a wide variety of specialist and general equipement to conduct research and access study areas.

Research Vehicles

The project has two reseach vehicles; a Toyota Hilux ("The Duck") and a Landrover Defender TDi ("The Green Goddess"). Both the vehicle have been adapted to cope with the extreme conditions they work in, including the fitting of snorkels to allow deep water crossings, heavy duty suspension to cope with the off-road driving. They are fitted with VHF radios to allow communication with other researchers during field work. Even with constant maitenance it is often hard to keep both vehicle running - even 4x4's struggle with the terrain we ask them to work in!

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GPS and VHF collars

GPS collars have revolutionised movement studies on wild animals. They record an animals position on a pre-determined time schedule, for instance once an hour. This allows researchers to generate highly detailed long-terms records on movement and habitat use. The collars are relatively lightweight, at less than 1kg they account for less than 0.3% of a typical zebras bodyweight. The GPS collars this project uses are supplied by Vectronic Aerospace GmbH. The collars are all downloadable in the field, meaning that information stored on the collar can be retrieved remotely. The newer collars contain IRIDIUM satellite technology, these collars email fixes to the research team each day, meaning animal movement can be followed from the office!

VHF collars have also been deployed to increase the sample size of known zebras. These collars have been supplied by African Wildlife Tracking. Unlike GPS collars these collars are just used to find specific animals, they do not record an animals position remotely.

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General Equipment

Other equipment includes habitat survey equipment such as quadrats, disc pasture meters. General bush equipment includes binoculars, cameras, camping equipment and a satellite phone for emergencies. A PDA is used for behavioural observations. This has been installed with a custom made program that records highly detailed observation and energetic data.

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