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High-Tech Protection in Place for Auburn University’s Eagles

October 1, 2013

By Janet L. McCoy, (p) 334/844-3698; (e)

Auburn, Alabama —

Fans attending Auburn football games say their favorite experience – other than winning the game – is the flight of the Eagle. The more than 87,000 Auburn and opposing team fans watch in awe as Nova or Spirit circles the stadium and lands mid-field to the “War Eagle” roar of the crowd.

Free-flights of Auburn’s eagles began in 2000, and the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Southeastern Raptor Center specialists have used telemetry for years to ensure the eagle is located if per chance it flies where it is not supposed to.

But as technology has evolved, raptor specialists looked into new ways to track the two most famous birds of prey who are housed at the Southeastern Raptor Center. After all, how do you track an eagle?

Enter Tagg the Pet Tracker. Tagg is a small device that attaches to dogs’ collars and uses sophisticated GPS location software that allows pet owners (or eagle handlers) to track the animal’s location using Tagg’s smartphone app or online platform.

The raptor center is now using Tagg pet trackers on their free-flighted eagles to monitor their activity and location, thanks to the generosity of Tagg, who provided the sophisticated technology for the eagles as a charitable gift-in-kind to Auburn University.

“It’s awe-inspiring to watch such a deep-rooted tradition blend effortlessly with modern technology,” said Scott Neuberger, CEO of Tagg. “Tagg already monitors the location of pets nationwide over 3.6 million times a day, and it is our great honor to work with Auburn to ensure that Nova and Spirit are now fully protected every time they take flight.”

Tagg’s high-tech tracking device weighs in at just over an ounce, and is small and light enough to comfortably attach to the tail feathers of Nova and Spirit. Tagg does not harm them or interfere with their ability to fly.

 “It is very reassuring to have this GPS technology on our birds and makes our flights even safer than ever,” said Marianne Hudson, assistant director of education and training at the Southeastern Raptor Center who worked with Tagg officials on getting the technology.

“These birds perform in hundreds of educational presentations each year and their free flights are a great opportunity for the public to experience our missions of education, rehabilitation and conservation in action,” Hudson said. “Knowing that we can locate their near exact location quickly and easily is very comforting and boosts our ability to fly these eagles safely.”

Items such as the Tagg’s tracking technology are among the types of in-kind donations received by the Auburn University Foundation on the university’s behalf. For more information about making donations of this nature, contact Auburn’s Office Development at (334) 844-7375. 

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Nova circles Jordan-Hare Stadium with Tagg GPS device.