Oral Presentation- Symposium 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Use of GPS telemetry to study the spatial ecology of common genets (Genetta genetta) in central Kenya (#319)

Adam W Ferguson 1 2 , Dedan K Ngatia 1 , Paul W Webala 3
  1. Natural Resource Management, Karatina University, Karatina, Kenya
  2. Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois, United States
  3. Forestry and Wildlife Management, Maasai Mara University, Narok, Kenya

The advent and continued development of global positioning system (GPS) tracking devices for use in studying wild animals has revolutionised our ability to study animal ecology. For carnivores however, most of the benefits realised from these technologies have occurred in larger species. For small carnivores (< 15 kg), use of GPS telemetry remains less explored. In particular, applications of these technologies to African species remains quite limited. This study reports findings from the first attempt to elucidate the spatial ecology of the common genet (Genetta genetta) using GPS telemetry. Between January and March 2015, we successfully fitted 22 common genets with GPS collars (eObs tags, Germany) on two properties in Kenya’s Laikipia County, a private conservancy (Mpala Ranch) and an adjacent community group ranch (Il Motiok). GPS tags were set to record fixes every 60 min and accelerometer data every 15 min throughout the night and were intended to be deployed for 8–12 months. We were able to obtain usable data from 12 individual genets, 6 (4 male : 2 female) from Mpala Ranch and 6 (4 male : 2 female) from Il Motiok. The average number of fixes recorded for genets from Mpala Ranch was 837 (117–2211) compared to 1336 (91–3999) for Il Motiok. Results and implications for understanding space use dynamics for the common genet will be discussed in light of several problems encountered during the study with suggestions on how to avoid future issues when applying GPS telemetry to small African carnivores of similar size and ecology.