Camera trapping in the field

After being established in the early 1900’s, camera trapping has developed significantly and fast become a key method for wildlife and ecological research. It has become not only a plausible method, but an increasingly accurate passive data collection method.

A male leopard stalks through the bush
A male leopard stalks through the bush

Given the non-invasive nature of camera traps, they have been especially beneficial in studying elusive species, as well as nocturnal animals that would be very difficult to capture data on otherwise. There is also the added benefit of the data captured being likely natural behaviour as the animals are not influenced by human surveyor presence.

Camera traps can be great to research multiple questions from one survey setup
Camera traps can be great to research multiple questions from one survey setup

Large areas can be surveyed in a much more efficient way, reducing time, effort and cost of a survey. Given the variety of camera trap types and setups available now too, they can be setup to capture multiple species in one survey, meaning that multiple research targets can be achieved from just one robust method.

 

These benefits have proven to have greatly enhanced what we know about many species, and have been particularly beneficial to studies of large carnivores, which are known to have large home ranges at low density, and be extremely elusive, making traditional data collection methods extremely challenging.

Black backed jackal over a carcass
Black backed jackal over a carcass

We have recently setup 25 camera traps across nearly 200km2, in order to assess multiple species populations in the area. We will use the camera trap data collected to ascertain population estimates for the medium to large carnivores and their prey species, as well as chacma baboons and vervet monkeys. Understanding the population number and dynamics of the species in the area provides a better foundation for us to assess conflict mitigation strategies.

A caracal approaches a camera trap
A caracal approaches a camera trap

Keep following to see what we find on the cameras – there is sure to be many great and interesting pictures. That is to say as long as the baboons don’t get up to their usual tricks!

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: