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This paper proposes a minimal contour tracking algorithm (MCTA) that reduces energy consumption for tracking mobile targets in wireless sensor networks in terms of sensing and communication energy consumption. MCTA conserves energy by letting only a minimum number of sensor nodes participate in communication and perform sensing for target tracking. MCTA uses the minimal tracking area based on the vehicular kinematics. The modeling of target's kinematics allows for pruning out part of the tracking area that cannot be mechanically visited by the mobile target within scheduled time. So, MCTA sends the tracking area information to only the sensor nodes within minimal tracking area and wakes them up. Compared to the legacy scheme which uses circle-based tracking area, our proposed scheme uses less number of sensors for tracking in both communication and sensing without target missing. Through simulation, we show that MCTA outperforms the circle-based scheme with about 60% energy saving under certain ideal situations.