Wildlife Surveys with Camera Traps

Submitted by Charles Darwin University

In November 2014 Western Cape Turtle Threat Alliance Coordinator Johanna Karam and Apudthama Ranger Dale Motlop joined more than 40 people from across northern Australia for a workshop on wildlife monitoring using motion detection cameras, in Darwin.

The Northern Hub of the National Environment Research Program ran the special session, as part of the Territory Natural Resource Management 2014 Conference. The session was based on research into improving methods for monitoring wildlife in Northern Australia, led by Northern Territory Government scientists.

Research Leader Dr Graeme Gillespie, from the Department of Land Resource Management, says motion detection cameras are an attractive option for surveying and monitoring wildlife because they are less labour intensive than traditional scientific animal trapping methods and they are simple to use.

“During our research we trialed different arrangements for setting up cameras until we found a method that consistently gave good detection rates for most species. Other groups can now benefit from our experience,” Dr Gillespie said.

“There will be a lot of value in groups adopting the same method when they are doing general biodiversity surveys, because then we will be able to compare results from different areas.”

The participants learnt about different camera types available, setting cameras up in the field, targeting different species, and using baits and data storage.

Warddeken rangers who have already been using the method have produced a video to help explain some of the key points to others.

Watch it online at http://www.nerpnorthern.edu.au

Photos below:  Charles Darwin University

A Camera Trap (left); A black rat caught on camera trap (right).

Johanna Karam and Dale Motlop joined over 40 people at the workshop (left); Djelk rangers setting up a camera trap (Right).