Flipper is going wireless
South African researchers plan to collar dusky dolphins next month with a new tracking device that uses cell phone sim cards.
This will enable them to track the marine mammals along their coastal ranges and at a fraction of the price of old satellite technology. "We plan to collar dusky dolphins next month off Cape Town. We'll do it as a trial at first with a collar that will release and fall off after 10 days," said Martin Haupt of Africa Wildlife Tracking, which makes animal tracking devices.
"With cellphone towers on coasts you can have a signal for 2.5 km (1.5 miles) out to sea," he told Reuters in an interview.
Dusky dolphins usually stay near shore, making them the perfect aquatic "guinea pigs" for such an experiment, for which they will have to be captured for the collar to be attached.
The black and white dolphins are also famed for their explosive displays of aerial acrobatics which means they can stay above the surface long enough to lock a signal on them.