A novel framework to protect animal data in a world of ecosurveillance

Robert J. Lennox*, Robert Harcourt, Joseph R. Bennett, Alasdair Davies, Adam T. Ford, Remo M. Frey, Matt W. Hayward, Nigel E. Hussey, Sara J. Iverson, Roland Kays, Steven T. Kessel, Clive McMahon, Monica Muelbert, Taryn S. Murray, Vivian M. Nguyen, Jonathan D. Pye, Dominique G. Roche, Frederick G. Whoriskey, Nathan Young, Steven J. Cooke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Surveillance of animal movements using electronic tags (i.e., biotelemetry) has emerged as an essential tool for both basic and applied ecological research and monitoring. Advances in animal tracking are occurring simultaneously with changes to technology, in an evolving global scientific culture that increasingly promotes data sharing and transparency. However, there is a risk that misuse of biotelemetry data could increase the vulnerability of animals to human disturbance or exploitation. For the most part, telemetry data security is not a danger to animals or their ecosystems, but for some high-risk cases, as with species' with high economic value or at-risk populations, available knowledge of their movements may promote active disturbance or worse, potential poaching. We suggest that when designing animal tracking studies it is incumbent on scientists to consider the vulnerability of their study animals to risks arising from the implementation of the proposed program, and to take preventative measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-476
Number of pages9
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Ecology
  • biotelemetry
  • biologging
  • species at risk
  • data security
  • poaching
  • data privacy
  • Poaching
  • Data privacy
  • Biotelemetry
  • Data security
  • Species at risk
  • Biologging

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