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12-22-2003, 12:41 AM
8 Antelope Captured and Fitted with Radio Telemetry Devices



FLAGSTAFF – Arizona Game and Fish biologists captured eight pronghorn antelope using a helicopter and net guns on Anderson Mesa east of Flagstaff on Nov. 6 and fitted them with a new type of radio telemetry device.

The new high-tech radio telemetry collars have a built-in GPS unit and a computer chip so that locations or movements of the animal are stored for later retrieval. Every two weeks, the collars transmit the movement data, which is retrieved by a biologist flying over the area. This is the first time the department has used the new technology.

“The pronghorn capture is part of an ongoing pronghorn study east of Flagstaff on Anderson Mesa, where the pronghorn population has been experiencing a significant decline,” says research biologist Richard Ockenfels.

The Game and Fish Department has been studying the factors affecting pronghorn populations in Arizona, especially fawn survival. Anderson Mesa is one of eight study areas in the state. Biologists say the radio-marked animals – seven females and one male – on Anderson Mesa will provide valuable information on spring fawning areas, movement corridors to and from winter range, sources of mortality, and diets.

“These animals are a vital link in helping biologists and land managers determine the best ways to assist the herd in recovering to historically higher numbers,” Ockenfels says.