Insights from tracking animals during pandemic lockdowns
As part of the RSE investigates… conservation series, Professor Christian Rutz FRSE will speak on ‘Building a future where humans and wildlife can coexist: insights from tracking animals during pandemic lockdowns‘ and explain how he helped launch a global research consortium to investigate changes in animal movement patterns during pandemic lockdowns
How does human activity affect wild animals? In 2020, a major tragedy created an opportunity to find out. As countries went into lockdown, to curb the spread of COVID-19, city centres became deserted, nature reserves closed their gates, and highways and shipping corridors fell silent. Anecdotal reports at the time suggested that wildlife responded to this ‘anthropause’ by exploring new haunts.
In this talk, Professor Christian Rutz FRSE will explain how he helped launch a global research consortium to investigate changes in animal movement patterns during lockdowns – using data collected by tiny wildlife ‘wearables’ (so-called bio-loggers). The COVID-19 Bio-Logging Initiative is the largest animal-tracking study ever conducted, with a database of over 1 billion satellite fixes for ~13,000 tagged animals across ~200 species.
Its findings are helping us build a future where humans and wildlife can coexist.
RSE Investigates… Conservation series
Efforts to protect and repair our planet’s natural resources span many areas of concern with experts across the globe dedicating themselves to conservation in their research and its application. The RSE investigates… conservation series will explore the vast and varied work being done in the area, including through several innovative and exciting conservation projects in Scotland: from the conservation of wildlife and environment to the conservation of heritage.
Throughout the series, we will be asking important, and at times tricky, questions about ethics and conservation, why conservation matters, how we engage the broader public in conservation efforts and the role of conservation in addressing the climate crisis and increasing biodiversity in Scotland and globally.
Professor Christian Rutz
Professor of Biology, University of St Andrews
Professor Christian Rutz FRSE (University of St Andrews) has broad interests in animal behaviour and conservation, advanced wildlife tracking technologies (‘bio-logging’), and policy making. A keen fieldworker, his research is driven by a deep curiosity about the natural world and a steadfast commitment to its lasting protection. Rutz is Founding President of the International Bio-Logging Society, and Chair and Co-Founder of the COVID-19 Bio-Logging Initiative — a UN-endorsed global research consortium investigating changes in animal movement patterns during pandemic lockdowns. A former Rhodes Scholar (Oxford) and Radcliffe Fellow (Harvard), Rutz has received numerous honours, including, most recently, a prestigious Explorers Club 50 Award (‘Fifty people changing the world, the world needs to know about’).