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Wildlife Radio-telemetry

Standards for Components of British Columbia's Biodiversity No. 5

Prepared by
Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks
Resources Inventory Branch
for the Terrestrial Ecosystems Task Force
Resources Inventory Committee

August 1998
Version 2.0

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This manual presents standards for the use of wildlife radio-telemetry in British Columbia. It was compiled by the Elements Working Group of the Terrestrial Ecosystems Task Force, under the auspices of the Resources Inventory Committee (RIC). The objectives of the working group are to develop inventory methods that will lead to the collection of comparable, defensible, and useful inventory and monitoring data for the species component of biodiversity.

This manual is one of the Standards for Components of British Columbia's Biodiversity (CBCB) series which present standard protocols designed specifically for groups of species with similar inventory requirements. The series includes an introductory manual (Species Inventory Fundamentals, No. 1) which describes the history and objectives of RIC, and outlines the general process of conducting a wildlife inventory according to RIC standards, including selection of inventory intensity, sampling design, sampling techniques, and statistical analysis. The Species Inventory Fundamentals manual provides important background information and should be thoroughly reviewed before commencing with a RIC wildlife inventory. RIC standards are also available for vertebrate taxonomy (No. 2) and animal capture and handling (No. 3). Field personnel involved in the telemetry should ensure they are thoroughly familiar with the latter of these standards before engaging in any restraint or handling of wild animals.

Standard data forms are required for all RIC wildlife inventory. Survey-specific data forms accompany most manuals while general wildlife inventory forms are available in the Species Inventory Fundamentals No. 1 [Forms] (previously referred to as the Dataform Appendix). This is important to ensure compatibility with provincial data systems, as all information must eventually be included in the Species Inventory Datasystem (SPI). For more information about SPI and data forms, visit the Species Inventory Homepage at:

It is recognized that development of standard methods is necessarily an ongoing process. The CBCB manuals are expected to evolve and improve very quickly over their initial years of use. Field testing is a vital component of this process and feedback is essential. Comments and suggestions can be forwarded to the Elements Working Group by contacting:

Species Inventory Unit

Wildlife Inventory Section, Resource Inventory Branch

Ministry of Environment, Lands & Parks

P.O. Box 9344, Station Prov Govt

Victoria, BC V8W 9M1

Tel: (250) 387 9765



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Funding of the Resources Inventory Committee work, including the preparation of this document, is provided by the Corporate Resource Inventory Initiative (CRII) and by Forest Renewal BC (FRBC). Preliminary work of the Resources Inventory Committee was funded by the Canada-British Columbia Partnership Agreement of Forest Resource Development FRDA II.

The Resources Inventory Committee consists of representatives from various ministries and agencies of the Canadian and the British Columbia governments as well as from First Nations peoples. RIC objectives are to develop a common set of standards and procedures for the provincial resources inventories, as recommended by the Forest Resources Commission in its report "The Future of our Forests".

For further information about the Resources Inventory Committee and its various Task Forces, please contact:

The Executive Secretariat

Resources Inventory Committee

840 Cormorant Street

Victoria, BC V8W 1R1

Tel: (250) 920-0661

Fax: (250) 384-1841


Terrestrial Ecosystems Task Force

The background information and protocols presented in this document are based on the unpublished draft manual, Standards Manual for Wildlife Radio Telemetry, prepared for the Resources Inventory Committee by Lorraine Andrusiak, Eric Walters, Eliot Terry and Keith Simpson of Keystone Wildlife Research. The draft manual was edited to its present form by James Quayle with earlier assistance from Ann Eriksson. Helpful review comments were provided by Myke Chutter, Helen Schwantje, D.V.M, and Malcolm McAdie, D.V.M. All decisions regarding protocols are the responsibility of the Resources Inventory Committee.

The Components of British Columbia's Biodiversity series is currently edited by James Quayle with data form development by Leah Westereng.


Table of Contents

Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data















List of Tables

Table 1. Regulatory requirements for radio-tagging a wild animal in British Columbia.

Table 2. A comparison of one-stage and two-stage transmitters (adapted from Kenward 1987).

Table 3. General uses of and advantages/disadvantages of ground and aerial monitoring.

Table 4. Some software packages for analysis of home range. (modified from Larkin and Halkin 1994).

List of Appendices

Appendix A. References by Topic.

Appendix B. Sample log form for radio-transmitter unit.


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Copyright ? 1998 Province of British Columbia

Published by the Resources Inventory Committee