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.
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.
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.
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.
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!