Oral presentation- Workshop 12th International Mammalogical Congress

It is about what you’ve got and how you use it (#62)

Paul D Meek 1 , Guy Ballard 2 , Peter Fleming 2
  1. NSW Dept. Primary industries/University of New England, NSW Dept. Primary Industries/University of New England, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia
  2. VPRU, NSW Dept. Primary Industries, Orange, New South Wales, Australia

In wildlife management, camera traps are precision tools that command the same level of regard and care that any data logger or bio-sampling tool is afforded. It is necessary that researchers and managers define their question (what do we really want to know?), select an appropriate method (how do I best answer my research/management question), choose the right tool (should I use camera traps?) and then use it appropriately (what settings are best, how can placement be optimised?). Contrary to popular use, camera traps should not be considered “set-and-forget” devices able to be deployed effectively by anyone who wants to collect wildlife data. Rather, it is crucial that users have a fundamental understanding of the functionality, basic physics and limitations of these devices so that the technology can be suitably exploited. A failure to understand key concepts, such as: how camera traps detect heat-in-movement and its relationship to the background temperature, functional animal’s heat signatures, how site conditions e.g. weather and time of day effects detection, and how a fast shutter speed setting may improve identification, may result in spurious and/or substandard data. We will present an overview of the types of camera trap equipment available in the market, some of the basic functionality of camera traps, and describe the types of questions users should consider before deploying camera traps into the field.