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Record-breaking distances revealed by Argos

Oct 1, 2019

New Argos tracking study by the Norwegian Polar Institute and the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) reveals unimagined distances traveled by a female Arctic fox, from Svalbard to a remote part of Canada. In the Southern hemisphere, an Oriental pratincole, tracked by the Australasian Wader Studies Group, surprises scientists by its impressive trip from Australia to India.  Whether by flight, by foot or by swimming, the Argos satellite telemetry system helps scientists make important discoveries about animal migration, from the Poles to the Equator.

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From Svalbard to Canada, the long journey of an Arctic fox tracked by Argos

Arctic Fox

Arctic Fox, Argos collar. Norwegian Polar Institute

Arctic foxes live in the regions around the Arctic ocean. Argos satellite telemetry tracking demonstrates that some of those foxes are changing continents using the sea ice as bridge, travelling thousands of kilometers in a few months in the process, from Svalbard to Canada. Since 2012, the Norwegian Polar Institute have fitted arctic foxes with lightweight Argos PTTs on the Svalbard archipelago. In 2018, a young, female Arctic fox traveled surprising distances.

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Oriental Pratincoles: long-distance migrant birds

An Oriental Pratincole with an Argos PTT antenna (Credit: Subbu Subramanya )

An Oriental Pratincole with an Argos PTT antenna (Credit: Subbu Subramanya )

Oriental Pratincoles, Australia’s most numerous shorebird, spend up to three months in Australia, migrating to various parts of Asia to breed. To date, traditional marking using bands and flags has produced little insight into their destinations & migration paths. Using 2 g Argos satellite telemetry tags, their migration is monitored day by day by the Australasian Wader Studies Group. Trajectories of up to 6350 km have been recorded, surprising even the experts.

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