Global Positioning System (GPS) collars have proven to be an efficient tool for studying wildlife. However, this technique generally requires great investment in material, which notwithstanding its possible cost-effectiveness, is still beyond the means of most of the scientific community in developing countries. We developed and applied a low-cost GPS harness system placed on pampas deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus) in the Central Pantanal of Brazil and compared costs of our technique to other commonly manufactured GPS collar systems. Of the 19 GPS harness attached to deer, 8 failed to obtain data series. For the remaining 11 animals, we stored 31,596 locations at 5-minute and 10-minute fix interval schedules (>120 days of continuous monitoring). Monitoring period of each animal lasted from 4.5 days to 17.4 days. Location error tested with a stationary GPS receiver was <3.7 m for 95% of locations. Rate of fixes acquired on the programmed schedule after correcting for errors was 98.5%. Compared to the 4 most used GPS radiocollar manufacturers, cost per fix of the GPS harness we developed was <50% of the cost per fix of the cheapest available product, although our modified device was heavier than all available products for medium-sized deer. Our approach was cost-effective to generate reliable information about activity patterns of pampas deer and may represent an alternative technique, especially for researchers in underdeveloped countries.
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Vol. 73 • No. 3