Camera trapping refers to the use of digital cameras in order to monitor wildlife and its activities. This technique involves the use of an infrared sensor equipped with a camera to capture any slight changes or movement in the surroundings.
These cameras come in green or shades of green color which helps the camera to perfectly blend in with the surroundings.
Importance of camera trapping
It is used to determine the presence or absence of specific species in the study area. It has been a valuable part of the census of wildlife species and their activities.
How does camera trapping work?
When an animal moves past the sensor, it quickly activates the camera and starts to capture the images. These images are either sent to the server or stored inside the memory chip installed in the camera. Cameras are placed on the basis of local people sighting clues such as scats, scratch marks, and at the intersection of traits.
The camera trapping requires items such as a sensor camera, green belt, python cable, and camera cover. At the start of the camera trapping process, the cameras are hidden in the bushes, and rocks, or are attached to a tree or pole.
Where to keep the camera?
The height of the camera from the ground is determined by the size of the animals. For small or ground-dwelling animals such as rodents the height from the ground should be minimized while for larger animals, the height should be at the appropriate height according to the species. Once the height is set, the camera is attached to the pole or tree with the help of a green belt.
Advantages of camera trapping
The most important advantage of using camera trapping is the minimal disturbance to the wildlife species. It doesn’t create any harm or trouble to wildlife.
It records very accurate data which can be used as evidence to convince the scientific communities.
Disadvantages of camera trapping
Though there are several advantages, this technique does have a few disadvantages too. The camera captures even a slight movement in front of it. So, it may capture leaves or plants moving, or even rain droplets.
Sometimes, you may have to navigate through thousands and thousands of photos in order to find whether any animal is captured and may just find plants moving or raindrops throughout the photos.
The camera is very susceptible to fire. As the camera is just a few lengths up from the ground, it is easier for fire to come in contact with the camera. Once it does, it not only destroys the camera but damages the data or memory chip inside.
There have been several cases of theft or vandalism of these cameras in national parks. As these cameras are expensive, losing a single camera may not only add up to the costs but also affect the whole research project too.
So, camera trapping is a sensitive method of wildlife monitoring. If handled properly the data provided by the camera trapping survey is close to accurate data or may create several problems during the research if not handled properly.