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This paper proposes a distributed method for cooperative target tracking in hierarchical wireless sensor networks. The concept of leader-based information processing is conducted to achieve object positioning, considering a cluster-based network topology. Random timers and local information are applied to adaptively select a sub-cluster for the localization task. The proposed energy-efficient tracking algorithm allows each sub-cluster member to locally estimate the target position with a Bayesian filtering framework and further performs estimation fusion in the leader node with the covariance intersection algorithm. This paper evaluates the merits and trade-offs of the protocol design towards developing more efficient and practical algorithms for object position estimation.