After the timidness of P26 yesterday night we were keen to check he had moved this morning. When we went to the release site we were glad to see that the travel box was empty, now it was a case of locating where he was.
Staff from the technical department have been working with us throughout the project, but this time we wanted them do to all the radio tracking independently and collect the required data about the sleep site.
The first step is using the yagi element to identify in which direction the the signal is strongest.
As you get nearer the signal gets stronger and you can reduce the gain of the receiver. The lower the number of bars when you can still hear the signal, the closer you are the animal.
When you can hear the signal and the strength is only half a bar you are very close and you can remove the yagi to find exactly where the animal is.
This morning he was sleeping between the roots of the tree, just in the bottom left of the picture. You can just see his scales in the picture below. He is a 8kg animal that squeezed into a hole 16cm wide.
As it is the dry season we left some water next to the tree, as we haven’t released any in the dry season before we want to be extra careful, although he is only 200m away from a river. We have left provisions of live ants at the point where we released him (around 40m away). We haven’t left the right next to his sleep site as we don’t want him to get lazy and need to encourage him to find food in the forest. It is near enough, and at a location he is familiar with to provide support if he needs it.
We are taking data on the tree species, the GPS location, where he was sleeping (at the roots), the width of the hollow and the circumference of the tree. Finally, we set up a camera trap at the den entrance to see what time he leaves this evening.