Smart collars reveal food selection in Eastern Grey Kangaroos (#832)
One of the main challenges in studying the foraging ecology of animals in the wild is undertaking the prolonged observations necessary to interpret behavior and food intake. Bio-logging technologies have made significant contributions to understanding how animals utilize three-dimensional spaces while foraging. Here we use a novel "state-of the art” smart collar that combines video cameras with GPS continuous data loggers to unravel fine-scale details of the foraging behavior of Eastern grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus). The study was conducted between 2014 and 2015 at Nelson Bay (NSW, Australia). From six successful deployments in adult kangaroos, we analyzed GPS tracks and up to 120 hours of video footage collected simultaneously. We established home range areas and foraging performance and assessed food choices by identifying vegetation types and identifying native and exotic plant species utilized during foraging episodes. Our results demonstrate that this novel technology has enormous potential to contribute to our understanding of foraging patterns and habitat preferences of wildlife. With further development, use of this technology could be extrapolated to other questions about social interactions between con-specifics and many other aspects of behavioral ecology where an “animal’s-eye-view” of the world would be advantageous.