Using camera traps to assess waterhole activity

Intern, Isuare, developed and conducted her own project looking at waterhole activity on AWCRC using camera trap data. Isuare joined us from Agrocampus Ouest, France and completed a five-month internship.

Using camera traps placed at waterholes on the property, Isuare decided to focus on the presence and activity of the Mountain Reedbuck, a species classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List. Isuare tagged camera trap images recorded during her internship and then conducted her analysis on R. For her report, the daily activity of Mountain Reedbuck and overlap with other species was assessed, developing data analysis skills.

Mountain Reedbuck

In total, 24 different species were recorded visiting the waterholes including baboons, bushbuck, common warthog, cape porcupine, sable, greater kudu, gemsbok, black backed jackal, African civet, brown hyena and leopard.  Mountain Reedbuck were not recorded at all waterholes suggesting habitat preference closer to mountainous areas of the property. They were most active at waterholes at 9am, 12pm and 5pm. Using overlap graphs, Isaure found that Mountain Reedbuck came to the waterholes approximately at the same hours as the other herbivores and primates but avoided times with higher predator activity. The findings provide an insight into the diversity of species found on AWCRC and the behaviour patterns of the Mountain Reedbuck on private land.

As well as working on her own project, Isuare was able to assist with some of our long-term research projects such as the habituation of a baboon troop and learnt a variety of different research techniques.

If you’re interested in doing an internship or placement abroad and would like the opportunity to develop your own project, we would be very interested to hear from you!

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