GPS Trackers Help Monitor Ducks
What the duck is going on around here is what some folks who will be visiting Lake St. Clair will be caught saying as roughly 50 mallard ducks who call the area home have been outfitted with real time GPS trackers to help researchers learn more about the animals. The female mallard ducks were equipped with tiny backpack-like devices that house solar-powered GPS devices that allow researchers to gain data on movement activity. The goal is that information produced from the GPS tracking devices will tell the researchers where the mallard ducks are going and what areas of their habitat might be threatened.
A person working on the research project from the University of Western Ontario explained that scientists really have no clue how the mallard ducks are “using the landscape”. That is why starting later this summer the team will start by equipping a GPS tracker roughly the size of 30 grams on the backs of the mallards that will pinpoint locational data roughly every 18-26 meters. The researcher team is also bringing the community into the project by allowing groups or companies to sponsor and name any of the ducks carrying the GPS tracking devices for the introductory cost of $1000.
The names of the ducks and the movements of the animals can be viewed via the Internet at Long Point Waterfowl Mallard Tracker.
One of the professors involved with the project explained that he has great concerns over a lot of recent changes to the ecosystem, stating lost habitat could signal real trouble for the wetland complex entrenched in the Great Lakes. Farmland pricing continues to skyrocket which could result in the wetlands being drained for essentially factory farms. This is because livestock such as chickens and cattle require significant land resources, water, and food to produce very little food for consumption, showcasing the shortcomings of the western diet that impacts not only the environment, the needless slaughter of animals, but also world hunger.
Clearly, the situation with the mallards is one drop in the bucket compared to the significant damage caused by the consumption of meat. If the wetlands continue to be ravaged and used for farming the mallard ducks will suffer malnutrition which would have a direct impact on both their survival and reproductive capabilities. Both the ducks who call the area home year-round as well as the ducks who share the space for 6 months out of the year have suffered from farming practices that have left little to no leftover grains in farming fields that the ducks would often call upon for nutrition whether it be the grain itself or insects that nibble on that grain.
More than likely, the study will only outline once again the balance between environment and habitation that humans continue to disrupt on a daily basis in a quest for the all mighty dollar.
Sage is a freelance writer with a background in information technology.