Blank Park Zoo partnered with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (Iowa DNR) and the Des Moines Audubon Society to place a Motus wildlife tracking station on Zoo grounds. The Motus Wildlife Tracking System (Motus) is a global research network using coordinated radio telemetry to facilitate research and education on the ecology and conservation of small migratory wildlife species, like birds, bats and insects.
The Motus Network is based on radio telemetry with three main components: an antennae, which is listening, a receiver, which is interpreting what the antennae is hearing, and a transmitter, which is a tag on the animal and emits a radio frequency. Whereas traditional wildlife telemetry tracking requires each tagged individual to transmit a unique radio frequency, Motus works on a single frequency with transmitters that are digitally coded allowing unique identification of thousands of individual animals on a single radio frequency. This means that researchers do not have to continuously change frequencies to look for a specific tag.
Working with other Motus collaborators, Blank Park Zoo hopes to contribute to local and global conservation efforts of Iowa wildlife as well as wildlife that uses the state as a flyover zone. Visit motus.org and search for Station #13428 to view the most up to date detections from the Zoo’s receiver.
Want to do more to help support pollinators and avian wildlife? Check out Blank Park Zoo’s Plant.Grow.Fly. program for ways to create a pollinator friendly habitat.