Managing animals within virtual boundaries

TitleManaging animals within virtual boundaries
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsAnderson D.M., Hale C.S.
Conference Name54th Annual Meeting Society for Range Management
Date PublishedFebruary 2, 2001
Conference LocationKailua-Kona, HI
ARIS Log Number116305
Keywordscontrol, device designs, free-ranging animals, Global Positioning System, radio frequency, virtual boundaries
AbstractCombining Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and electro-mechanically produced cues offers a new paradigm in controlling free-ranging animals. Preliminary tests using autonomously applied bilateral cues indicate the method is humane and reproducible when used to alter a beef cow's location and direction of movement. A central processing unit (CPU) within the device worn by an animal uses Radio Frequency (RF) signals captured from GPS satellites to determine the animal's location. Geographically referenced virtual boundaries (VB) are programmed into the unit's Geographic Information System (GIS). The device integrates these two data sets to determine the animal's location with respect to the closest VB. If a VB is penetrated, algorithms in the CPU determine to which side of the animal the programmable repertoire of cues is to be applied to encourage the animal to move away from the VB using the shortest route possible. The cues are administered in a fail-safe cascade fashion from least to most aversive and to only one side of the animal at a time depending on the animal's angle of approach to the VB. If a VB is programmed to move or surround individual animals, dispersal or gathering of animals is automated. The device can be used with individual electronic animal identification to further facilitate individual animal management. Proof-of-concept has been evaluated using neck saddle prototypes. Various device designs and attachment locations will be discussed. Combining electronics with animal behavior will make individual prescription animal management a commercial reality in the 21st century.