Our team attaches satellite transmitters to Great Bustards using custom-fitted backpack-style harnesses. The capture process is streamlined and fast, lasting only 15-20 minutes. These transmitters relay detailed information about our bustards’ locations through a satellite connection, allowing our team to collect high-resolution movement data without frequently disturbing these incredibly wary birds. Learn about bustards we have tagged.
We use this data to determine conservation parameters for these populations. Our master’s student B. Dashnyam visits sites frequently used by Great Bustards to investigate habitat requirements on their breeding grounds. We are able to monitor these birds as they travel long-distance, on their annual migration. And the transmitters also notify us of the death of the Great Bustard, which we investigate to determine causes of mortality.
These transmitters have allowed our team to make several important preliminary findings on Mongolian populations of Great Bustards. Notably, we have found migratory routes twice as long as have previously been recorded for this species! We have also identified poaching as a key threat to the species in this region.
We share these findings with conservation organizations, government agencies and academic groups in order to advance the conservation of this species. We also engage in a “two-way” exchange of information with local people through both formal and informal programs.