Human Ecology

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 623–630 | Cite as

Can One Animal Represent an Entire Herd? Modeling Pastoral Mobility Using GPS/GIS Technology

  • Mark MoritzEmail author
  • Zachary Galehouse
  • Qian Hao
  • Rebecca B. Garabed

New GPS/GIS technology allows researchers to examine old questions about mobility in pastoral system at multiple spatiotemporal scales, from daily herd movements to annual transhumance orbits (Adriansen and Nielsen 2005; Butt 2011; Butt et al.2009; Coppolillo 2000; Gautier et al.2005; Moritz et al. 2010; Sonneveld et al.2009). This research has been conducted with the assumption that one animal is representative of the herd. The question is whether that is indeed the case since cattle herds may consist of animals of different sex, age, breeds, and reproductive status. Kiddy (1977), for example, found that when cows are in estrus they are much more active. There have been a few studies in which multiple animals in the same herd were tracked with GPS devices, but most have been conducted in livestock production systems in which animals roam free (without a herder) in enclosed pastures in the US and UK (e.g., Davis 2007; Stephen et al.2010). Davis (2007) found that one animal could...


Cattle Herd Pastoral System Daily Movement Flood Depth Chad Basin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank the mobile pastoralists in the Far North Region of Cameroon, and in particular those in Misde and Ngelleehon where we placed the GPS devices. We also want to thank Centre d’Appui a la Recherche et au Pastoralisme (CARPA) for research support in the field. This research has been supported by the National Science Foundation (BCS-0748594), the National Geographic Society (8306–07), and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Anthropology Department, and the Public Health Preparedness for Infectious Diseases (PHPID) program at the Ohio State University. We would like to thank the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation (MINRESI), the Wildlife College in Garoua, and the Higher Institute of the Sahel at the University of Maroua for granting research permission and research affiliation (2008–2011). Zachary Galehouse and Qian Hao made the maps.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Moritz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zachary Galehouse
    • 1
  • Qian Hao
    • 1
  • Rebecca B. Garabed
    • 1
  1. 1.The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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