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Monday, 10 June, 2002, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Satellite tracking for threatened bird
Brent goose, RSPB
Satellite technology may help preserve the Brent goose
Scientists at the Wildfowl and Wetlands trust at Slimbridge are using the latest satellite technology to track a threatened species of geese on their annual journey to the Arctic.

Staff at the Gloucestershire-based trust are following the Brent Geese on their 4,500-mile journey to their breeding grounds.

The technology will enable scientists to devise a proper conservation programme, while anyone with an interest can track the birds' progress through the internet.

Many experts believe the two-month journey to the frozen Arctic is the toughest journey undertaken by any migrating bird.

Greenland icecap

Having already left Slimbridge, the real journey began from the trust's Castle Espie reserve in south Belfast in early April.

From there the flock headed north towards Iceland, climbing to a height of 3,000 metres to cross the fearsome Greenland Icecap, then on beyond the Arctic Circle to their breeding grounds on the tundra.

"The transmitter sends information to a satellite which works out the location of the birds and then transmits information back to us here in the UK," said Dr James Robinson, senior research officer of the trust.

"Having got a real idea of where the birds are, we can get people to work with us to ensure that their breeding, roosting and migratory grounds are protected.

"Once you've identified that then a new development, for example, may be moved two miles up the road, because you know that that particular site will be safe for the geese in future," said trust director Tony Richardson.


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See also:

04 Nov 01 | Science/Nature
17 Nov 00 | Science/Nature
03 Apr 00 | Science/Nature
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