miércoles, mayo 28, 2008

Espiando a los pumas

Foto: Daniel Stahler

Éste es mi primer artículo para Mongabay.com, una web sobre medioambiente y conservación que tiene un tráfico bastante impresionante.

High-tech collars to reveal the secretive behaviors of mountain lions

A handful of mountain lions in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California soon will wear high-tech collars as part of a new study by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The collars will reveal not only how these animals range within their sprawling territories, but also how they hunt. The scientists aim to figure out ways to minimize conflicts between humans and mountain lions — also known as pumas and cougars.

The collars combine Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite technology with an accelerometer, an electronic chip the size of a pinkie fingernail that measures acceleration and gravity. These chips are widely available commercially, and they are already embedded in several consumer devices to detect motion. For instance, the Nintendo Wii video game system includes an accelerometer, as does the iPhone. However, this is the first time researchers will use accelerometers to study the behavior of a terrestrial mammal, says Chris Wilmers, leader of the puma tracking project and assistant professor of environmental studies at UC Santa Cruz.

El artículo completo, aquí.

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