Unfortunately, after many months of troubleshooting the system, the mOOvement ear tags would not work. Investigations as to what hampered the system indicate that the most likely cause of death for the LoRen network was the unexpectedly high-water content in the dense acacia bush on the farms. Determined that the concept of ear tags had huge conflict alleviation potential, the CCB and Texas A&M team set about finding a solution!
In the second week of March 2023, Dr Leslie Ruyle and a team of six students from Texas A&M visited the CCB Ghanzi Camp again, similar to their visit in 2022. The students were a mix of undergraduates and postgraduates from the fields of biology, agricultural sciences, engineering and social sciences. The team brought with them 10 new Ceres satellite ear tags and together with CCB’s research team they were placed on 10 cattle at the same farm. These new tags are satellite based and therefore not obstructed by vegetation and do not require Wi-Fi, cell phone reception or an antenna. These new ear tags send a location update every six hours and have an accelerometer to track cow movement speeds, as well as contract tracing to see interactions between cattle (which can be useful to track how closely cows protect their calves). We are very relieved and overjoyed that the new system is running perfectly and the farm owners and managers are thrilled at the new information the system provides. We are tracking carnivore-related conflict on the farm to see how these new ear tags work at improving knowledge about livestock and how that, in turn affects conflict levels with carnivores.