Movement behaviour of traditionally managed cattle in the eastern province of Zambia captured using two-dimensional motion sensors

Lubaba, Caesar H. and Hidano, Arata and Welburn, Susan C. and Revie, Crawford W. and Eisler, Mark C. (2015) Movement behaviour of traditionally managed cattle in the eastern province of Zambia captured using two-dimensional motion sensors. PLoS ONE, 10 (9). ISSN 1932-6203

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    Abstract

    Two-dimensional motion sensors use electronic accelerometers to record the lying, standing and walking activity of cattle. Movement behaviour data collected automatically using these sensors over prolonged periods of time could be of use to stakeholders making management and disease control decisions in rural sub-Saharan Africa leading to potential improvements in animal health and production. Motion sensors were used in this study with the aim of monitoring and quantifying the movement behaviour of traditionally managed Angoni cattle in Petauke District in the Eastern Province of Zambia. This study was designed to assess whether motion sensors were suitable for use on traditionally managed cattle in two veterinary camps in Petauke District in the Eastern Province of Zambia. In each veterinary camp, twenty cattle were selected for study. Each animal had a motion sensor placed on its hind leg to continuously measure and record its movement behaviour over a two week period. Analysing the sensor data using principal components analysis (PCA) revealed that the majority of variability in behaviour among studied cattle could be attributed to their behaviour at night and in the morning. The behaviour at night was markedly different between veterinary camps; while differences in the morning appeared to reflect varying behaviour across all animals. The study results validate the use of such motion sensors in the chosen setting and highlight the importance of appropriate data summarisation techniques to adequately describe and compare animal movement behaviours if association to other factors, such as location, breed or health status are to be assessed.