Wildlife Telemetry
This page contains recommended references (habitat selection and impact of radio-tags) especially in bats, links to wildlife telemetry equipement and suppliers and some useful software.
Jump straight to:

last update: November 2012 (sorry) / Skinbond replacement update in June 2019

> top

References habitat selection
(sorry, needs update, still state from 2005)

Aebischer, N.J., Robertson, P.A. & Kenward, R.E (1993). Compositional analysis of habitat use from animal radio-tracking data. Ecology 74(5): 1313-1325.

Aebischer, N. J. & Robertson, P. A. (1992). Practical aspects of compositional analysis as applied to pheasant habitat utilisation. In Wildlife Telemetry. Remote Monitoring and Tracking of Animals: 285-293. Priede, I. G. & Swift, S. M. (eds), Ellis Horwood.

Arlettaz, R. (1999). Habitat selection as a major resource partitioning mechanism between the two sympatric Sibling bat species Myotis myotis and Myotis blythii. Journal of Animal Ecology 68(3): 460-471.

Byers, C.R., Steinhorst, R.K., Krausman, P.R. (1984). Clarification of a technique for analysis of utilization-availability data. Journal of Wildlife Management 48(3): 1050-1053.

De Solla, S. R., Bonduriansky, R. & Brooks, R. J. (1999). Eliminating autocorrelation reduces biological relevance of home range estimates. J. Anim. Ecol. 68: 221-234.

Gillies, C.S., Hebblewhite, M., Nielsen, S.E., Krawchuk, M.A., Aldridge, C.L., Frair, J.L., Saher, D.J., Stevens, C.E. & Jerde, C.L. (2006). Application of random effects to the study of resource selection by animals. Journal of Animal Ecology 75(4): 887-898.

Harris, S., Cresswell, W. J., Forde, P. G., Trewhella, W. J., Woollard, T. & Wray, S. (1990). Home-range analysis using radio-tracking data: a review of problems and techniques particularly as applied to the study of mammals. Mamm. Rev. 20: 97-123.

Hemson, G., Johnson, P., et al. (2005). Are kernels the mustard? Data from global positioning system (GPS) collars suggests problems for kernel home-range analyses with least-squares cross-validation. Journal of Animal Ecology 74(3): 455-463.

Johnson, D. H. (1980). The comparison of usage and availability measurements for evaluating resource preference. Ecology 61(1): 65-71.

Keating, K. A., Cherry, S. (2004). Use and interpretation of logistic regression in habitat selection studies. Journal of Wildlife Mangement 68(4):774-789.
Kenward, R. E. (1992). Quantity versus quality: programmed collection and analysis of radio-tracking data. In Wildlife Telemetry. Remote Monitoring and Tracking of Animals: 231-245. Priede, I. G. & Swift, S. M. (eds), Ellis Horwood.

Neu, C.W., C.R.Byers, J.M.Peek (1974). A technique for analysis of utilization availability data. J. Wildl. Manage. 38(3): 541-545.

Revilla, E., Palomares, F. & Delibes, M. (2000). Defining key habitats for low density populations of Eurasian badgers in Mediterranean environments. Biol. Cons. 95: 269-277.

Sierro, A. & Arlettaz, R. (1997). Barbastelle bats (Barbastella spp.) specialize in the predation of moths: Implications for foraging tactics and conservation. Acta OEcologica, 18(2): 91-106.

White, G.C. & Garrott, R.A. (1990). Analysis of wildlife radio-tracking data. Academic press, Inc., San Diego, California. 383 pp.

Wray, S., Cresswell, W.J., White, P.C.L. & Harris, S. (1992). What, if anything, is a core area? An analysis of the problems of describing internal range configurations. In: Priede, I.G. & S.M. Swift. Wildlife Telemetry. Remote Monitoring and Tracking of Animals. Ellis Horwood, Chichester: 521-537.

References impact (radio)-tagging

Hickey, MBC (1992). Effect of radiotransmitters on the attack success of hoary bats, Lasiurus cinereus. J. Mamm. 73(2):344-346.

Neubam, DJ, Neubaum, MA, Ellison, LE & O'Shea, TJ. 2005. Survival and condition of big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) after radiotagging. Journal of Mammalogy 86(1): 95-98.

Petty, SJ, Bridget, M, Appleby M. 2004. The long-term efect of fitting back-mounted radio tags to juvenile tawny owls Strix aluco. Wildlife Biology 10(3): 161-170.

> top

Useful software

Review of wildlife ecology software (~50).
Another list.

Resource Selection for Windows:
RSW is a 32-bit Windows program for analyzing preferences or avoidances from a habitat/cover types study, feeding trials, etc., using five methods. The methods include the Neu et al. (1974), Johnson (1980), Friedman (1937), Quade (1979), compositional analysis (Aebischer et al. 1993), and compositional analysis on ranks (Bacon-Shone 1992). The first 4 methods have been the subject of intensive study by Alldredge and Ratti (1986, 1992). Cherry (1996) recommended using Bailey intervals for the Neu method instead of the binomial confidence intervals. Both intervals are computed in RSW.
[ The compositional analyses are not computed using randomizations, as recommended by Aebischer et al. (1993), but see the following Excel macro) ].

Compositional Analysis Excel Tool for Version 5.0 :
This tool for Compositional Analysis with Randomisation testing was written by Peter G. Smith of Smith Ecology Ltd.. The tool was first used, in an earlier version, by Smith (2000). The copyright in this software is held by Smith Ecology Ltd. The software must not be copied or distributed without the permission of Smith Ecology Ltd. Version 7.0, Version 2002 or a compatible version of the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet package is required to be able to use this compositional analysis tool. The tool comprises an application specific Excel Add-In (the file “CompAnal x_x.xla”) and an Excel workbook (the file “Compositional Analysis x_x.xls”). The Add-In is accessed as a library item by code in the Excel workbook to perform the analysis on data you copy into specific worksheets of the workbook. Compositional Analysis is a technique that uses MANOVA to analyse two sets of data in which variables are represented as proportions. It is used to determine the statistical significance of differences and the rank order of differences between the variables.

Animal Movement ArcView 3.x extension:
Animal Movement is an ArcView extension that contains a collection of over 40 functions specifically designed to aid in the analysis of animal movement. This data could be collected from radio tags, sonic tags, Argos satellite tags or observational data. The program is designed to implement a wide variety of animal movement functions in an integrated GIS environment. The program also has significant utility for analyzing other point phenomena. This program requires the ESRI program Spatial Analyst!

Hawth's Analysis Tools for ArcGIS:
Hawth's Analysis Tools is an extension for ESRI's ArcGIS (specifically ArcMap, ArcGIS 8.x and 9.x). It is designed to perform spatial analysis and functions that cannot be conveniently accomplished with out-of-the-box ArcGIS. Most of these analysis tools have been written within the context of the ecological applications I am involved in (movement analysis, resource selection, predator prey interactions and trophic cascades). However, they have been created in such a way as to be as broadly applicable as possible such that I hope people from many disciplines will find use in this set of tools. There are three types of tools in this kit. First, there are simple tools that automate mundane tasks (e.g. deleting many fields at once from a table). These will likely be useful to anyone. Second, there are tools that are designed to be part of an analysis workflow. For instance, random point (or stratified random point) generation, minimum convex polygon delineation, summarizing raster layers in various ways, etc. These too are likely to be useful to many people. Finally, there are tools that target specific, ecology related analyses (for instance, various movement model applications). These will likely only be of interest to ecologists. Specific detail of the tools can be found on the Tools page.

HRE: The Home Range Extension for ArcView
Created by Arthur R. Rodgers and Angus P. Carr, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada The HRE contains software that extends ArcView to analyze home ranges of animals. The ability to use large data sets and carry out all required home range analyses within a single software environment were our primary reasons for developing the Home Range Extension (HRE) for the ArcView GIS. The program has been written for novice GIS users who already understand basic wildlife telemetry issues and who are familiar with the concept of a "home range". Since the HRE was originally developed for use with LOTEK GPS collars, it has a direct import filter for their data files. The HRE also provides direct import of data from Service Argos DCLS files, dBASE files, or ASCII text files. An important feature of the HRE is the "Moose On A Leash" (MOAL) data animation tool that follows an animal's path as it moves from point to point. Point data can be used to calculate average distance moved between fixes, average elapsed time between fixes, speed of movement, total distance moved in a given period, or home range polygons. The HRE currently includes 2 home range analysis models: minimum convex polygons (MCPs) and kernel methods. Because different computer software programs may produce large differences in home range estimates based on these models, the HRE includes most of the options offered in earlier programs for calculation of estimators and values input for various parameters. There are several different ways to automatically generate %MCPs in the HRE. The HRE includes both fixed and adaptive kernel methods. Both Schoener's index and the Swihart and Slade index are calculated in conjunction with kernel analyses. Determination of habitat types used by an animal is relatively straightforward in a GIS using the geometric intersection of "the habitat" with "the area used by the animal" as described by a polygon resulting from one of the MCP or kernel methods. The user should be able to perform all the analyses of their point data within ArcView and the HRE.

You can download the extension for free here or here.

from Ecological Software Solutions: looks interesting, includes kernels with many options, habitat analysis (e.g. compositional analysis with randomization), however I have not yet tested it.

Bolker, B. (2007). Ecological models and data in R.
Online pdf version of a (forthcoming) book published at Princeton University Press.

Distance (from coordinates)
distance = sqr ((xi+1 - xi)^2 + (yi+1 - yi)^2)
(where xi+1 must be read as "x of i+1", this means i+1 in subscript...)

(freeware, Version 1.00, Beta 8 - October 15, 1998 from Fred Leban, not maintained any more)
You can download the software from here.

Smith, P.G. 2003. Compositional Analysis Excel tool. Version 5.0.
e-mail: Unpublished: 1, Bettws Cottage, Bettws, Abergavenny, NP7 7LG, UK. 6 pages.
To purchase this Excel macro (40 - 80£), see his website

You can download the extension for free here.

Hawth's Tools is FREE for download.

> top

Radio-tracking equipment

(in bracket some of our experiences, of course not representative)

Directory of biotelemetry equipment manufacturers:

BioTrack (very helpful with advice, nice, low-price transmitters, 10 years ago we had some technical problems,
the smallest transmitters available (with Titley, 2005)):

Environmental Studies, Germany

Holohil transmitters (very reliable transmitters, sometimes delivery problems, especially in spring, but fast in 2005, not uncomplicated with delayed payments):

Holohil: instruction for transmitter attachment:

Communications Specialists (delivery in time):
R-1000 Telemetry receiver (is quite handy, not too sensitive, but very flexible with a user-definied 4 MHz range)

Wildlife materials (TRX-1000s and 2000x very sensitive, reliable, but no battery change, and a bit "old fashion" case, not water proof:

Weasel Telemetry: they promise automatic radio-tracking based on a system originally designed by Cochran. No experiences so far except of their test system. Have a look at:
(or here if the above web site does not work).

Titley Electronics (very helpful, the smallest transmitters available (with Pip's from Biotrack, 2005), high reliability, one of the best scanning receivers on the market)

Televilt Sweden (we had several problems with receivers and moisture)

Antennas, the very small and handy H-Antennas are recommended WiMo, but also the collabsible antennas from Titley (see above)

Have a look at this feedback at BioTelemetry list in November 2004:
"MF: Thanks for the responses to my questions about reliable telemetry equipment manufacturers. Several people asked me to post a summary so I am providing that here. To make it simple I have just noted the number of positive (P) or negative (N) responses I received about the various manufactures mentioned." (in green the experience from SWILD)
H.A.B.I.T. receivers 2 N
Sirtrack transmitters 1 P
Communications Specialists R-1000 receiver 3 P(P)
Advanced Telemetry Systems (ATS) receivers 4 P
Advanced Telemetry Systems (ATS) transmitters 2 P
Advanced Telemetry Systems (ATS) archive tags 1 P
Advanced Telemetry Systems (ATS) data loggers and attachments 2 P
Lotek receivers 3 P
Lotek transmitters 2 P
iCom hand held receivers 2 P
Holohil transmitters 2 P (P)
Wildlife Materials Inc. receivers 2 N (P)
Telonics receivers 5 P 1 N (solid but heavy!)
Telonics flexible antenna 1 P
AVM receivers 1 P 5 N
AVM transmitters 1 P 3 N (N & unfriendly)
Hi-Tech transmitters 1 N
American Wildlife Enterprises transmitters 2 P
VEMCO receivers 1 P
VEMCO transmitters 1 P
Biotrack receivers 1 P
Biotrack transmitters 1 P (P)

Temperature loggers
Have a look at the tiny, relative cheap ibuttons.
(All temperature and humidity models. We first used DS1921G-F5 thermochron ibuttons (2048 measurements: 1 record /h from 85 days) with DS9093F Flanged Fob, in 2008 we moved to the high capacity model DS1922L-F5#. These models can take 8192 hourly measurements in a period of 350 days.
For download you need one DS1402D Blue Dot Receptor best with a DS9490R USB Port Adapter. Ev. you find both together in a starter kit with a thermochron ibutton.
Use the online software to view data.
The free software should be here or here ( is an awful site, sorry). How to import data into Excel.

Tinytalk loggers from Gemini.

camera traps (Fotofallen)
We are testing at the moment the new Moultrie IR 60 camera trap,
, thanks to Markus Jenny & Jörg Tilmann (available best from Cabelas, Moultrie itself has very bad service)
Trail Master (in Europa by AE)

Marking (of small mammals)

Cement / glue to attach transmitters (e.g. to bats)
Once Skinbond: (not available any more! After the composition had changed (old Skinbond to New Skinbons) there were various feedbacks about the glue being still stuitable. No question any more because it is not produced any more

Currently the best information is provided by Holohil:

2009: see the papers from Albus & Carter 2007? and Carter et al. 2009:
recommendation of Perma-Type Surgical Cement, which should be available here, or here (for Europe).

April 2007: A german product which was sucessfully used on V. murinus bats (transmitters retained 2-3 weeks): Sauer-Hautkleber - Original.

March 2007: Holohil recommends Torbot Bonding Cement (not any more - see above)

A nice replacement for SkinBond? (thanks to Igor for beta testing): the glue did hold >6 days in Plecotus.
However, my tests were not very promising: it could work for smaller, nice behaving bat species but certainly will not hold for wild boars as Myotis myotis... Any other experiences?
Company Fing'rs, Wimp'rs, Product ID 70034, available ~worldwide here (Switzerland).

Two other recommendations (10-40d on small birds, text only in German, not tested myself):
Der gute und billigere Leim heisst Histoacryl und wird von der Firma B.Braun vertrieben. Eine Ampulle von 0,5 ml reicht für etwa 10 Klebungen. Kosten ca. 20.- pro Ampulle, lieferbar in Packungen zu 5 oder 10 Ampulle, 0.2 oder 0.5 ml Ampullen. Geöffnet kann er noch etwa 2-3 Tage verwendet werden. Er trocknet sehr schnell.
Der teurere ist von Johnson & Johnson und heisst Dermabond. Er reicht kaum für 4 Klebungen und trocknet schnell, kann deshalb eigentlich nur am 'Oeffnungstag' gebraucht werden, denn er trocknet im geöffneten Behälter sehr schnell ein und kann dann kaum mehr herausgepresst werden (Dank an die Vogelwarte!)

Bernie's Glow Sticks
light tagging of bats etc.

Licence in Switzerland

Licence for wildlife telemetry frequencies in Switzerland: look at BAKOM

Methods without licence in CH: Fang, Immobilisation und Markierung freilebender Wildtiere für wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen und Bestandeserhebungen (Richtlinien von BVET und BUWAL: hier zu finden, oder direkt als pdf, 116 KB)

Bat rings (forearm bands, split rings) from Wetland Trust, UK (website, email )
This is their info from March 2004 (pdf)

light tags or glow sticks from USA

age analysis
cementum aging by Matson Lab

High altitude bat echolocation monitoring
Impact assessment of wind energy sites: we used zeppelins from Mediazepp (Model 4.5m long, 900 EUR). We used 6.7 m3 helium (ca. 250 EUR?). Absolutely necessary: second stronger security line, enormous forces with winds at high altitude. Marking lights (Funkbefeuerung): Luxeon Emitter, blinking red (44 lumen) in sufficient distance to recording unit.Licence from "aviation civile" was necessary in France.

DNA storing

Not really marking, but tissue sampling in bats:
Biopsy Punches

Storing museum samples (thanks Manuel Ruedi)
Evidement, il faut garder à au moins -20°C les cadavres frais, et après, les mettre dans de l'Ethanol 80-95% . Attention, PAS de l'ethanol mélangé avec du MEC ou autre dérivé de methanol (c'est en fait l'acool le plus utilisé en Museum!), car cela dégrade rapidement l'ADN. Mettre les échantillons dans de l'ethanol 80%, avec 1% d'isopropanol (qui est OK pour l'ADN).

Map resources (sorry, mainly Switzerland)

EcoGIS Switzerland
ein Werkzeug zur Darstellung und interaktiven Abfrage von Umweltdaten

MapMachine from NationalGeographic
useful satellite and street maps worldwide. Mark locations and measure distances.
Find locations in Switzerland on aerial / street maps.


smart, small (40g), mobile GPS device:

Mailing lists

is an international e-mail discussion group devoted to topics of interest to bat researchers and enthusiasts.
(sometimes boring - sometimes with original contributions)

(If you find a broken link, please send an email. Thanks)
> top Fabio Bontadina