The tracking of tigers is an essential part of the various concerted conservation efforts being made around the world for their protection. Because they are such elusive creatures, though, it is not an easy task to find them, tag them and then maintain contact with them over an extended period of time from remote locations.
The tracking of animals is done for a number of various reasons and with many different purposes or aims. These include:
.Tagging the animals for scientific research.
.Learning more about the animal to aid in their conservation, protection, and so on.
.Taking a census (population numbers of different species, migratory patterns, breeding patterns, etc...).
.Monitoring breeding habits, mortality rates and potential health threats before they lead to the complete demise of a population or even an entire species.
.Learning of potential predators within certain natural habitats.
.Maintaining a measure of control over the animals, their movements and their health.
Tracking tigers is best done within environments that are known habitats for them, as those tracking and tagging them are likely to be able to deal with the largest number of animals at any one time. Therefore, tigers are often tracked and tagged within the confines of a national park or reserve. Its natural habitat is in India, China, Russia and Southeast Asia, so research and tracking is generally conducted in these areas.
Tiger trackers may go on foot through the jungles, grasslands and mountains; using the faeces and footprints of the animal to guide them. This is an age-old method of tracking animals, and requires plenty of insight and experience with the tiger to accomplish safely and effectively. Other tracking methods include satellite tracking, whereby animals are monitored via a satellite signal that feeds back to research stations anywhere in the world. Such tracking still requires that the animal is first tagged, so that the transmitter can be attached somehow. On-foot tracking seems to be the most common and effective means of attaching this transmitter. In addition to satellite methods, radio transmission can also be used.
Panthera, a very successful tiger conservation organisation, is particularly active in the sphere of tiger tracking. The information gleaned from their efforts is used to further the insights of the researchers involved in preserving the tigers, as well as to monitor the last remaining specimens of this endangered species. Satellite tracking, radio tracking and actively tracking animals on foot are all methods used by Panthera to ensure the largest possible sample number.