Use of Global Positioning System (GPS) telemetry is increasing in wildlife studies and has provided researchers and managers with new insight into animal behavior. However, performance of GPS collars varies and a major concern is the cause of unsuccessful fixes. We examined possible factors causing missed fixes in GPS collars on sympatric free-ranging Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) and wolverines (Gulo gulo) in northern Sweden. We tested for effects of species, activity, habitat, individual, and collar on fix rate. Species was the most important factor affecting fix rate. Fix rate of GPS collars on lynx (80%) was almost twice as high as on wolverines (46%). Fix rate decreased during periods of low activity (day beds) for both species. Fix rate also decreased for females (both lynx and wolverine) for a period after they gave birth. We found no effect of proportion of forest within individual home range on fix rate. We conclude that species behavior, characteristics, and activity pattern are important factors affecting fix rate that we recommend be taken into consideration prior to analyzing GPS location data.
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Vol. 74 • No. 3