discussion / Camera Traps  / 30 August 2023

Ideas for easy/fast maintenance of arboreal camera traps 

Hi ,

A section of my upcoming project will include the deployment of arboreal camera traps up large fruiting trees In primary rainforest of PNG. It would be ideal if these camera traps could be deployed via canopy access and later allow for data retrieval and battery renwal without having to repeatedly access the canopy. An idea that was presented to me was to use a frame and a pulley system and somehow have the frame lock in place and be remotely released and the trap could be lowered on the pulley, the frame would allow attachment to the trunk or a branch so the camera isn’t just swinging on a wire. The remote release is where I am stuck. Alternatively if there is a more tech based solution consisting of constructing a custom unit with a separate battery/SD and camera/sensor that would perhaps be even more useful ! 

If anybody has experience with something similar or even has some novel ideas that would be really helpful ! 


Thanks ,


Hi Ben,

Arboreal camera traps are going to be notorious for being triggered by moving leaves etc. Maybe you have thought that one through and have some work-arounds? Would be good to hear what kind of system you end up using.

Just quickly you could perhaps use bluetooth/wireless to pull images off of the camera without having to get in and open it up to grab the SD card each time.

For power perhaps you could use an external DC power cable that would be long enough to reach a battery box with a switch. Switch off the power remotely there and then replace batteries in that box and then re-power your unit.

Just a couple of ideas to get started.

Good luck with it all,


I recently installed and maintained a 12 camera trap arboreal array in Panama. The cams were set at between 12 and 25 meters height. We used rope access to install the cams which took a bit of effort (actually hiking with all the equipment to each remote site took most of the time). Once each cam was installed we left a thin throw line in situ so that when we came to check SD cards and change batteries it was very quick to put up a climbing line and get to the cams. I would estimate around 15 mins tops to pull up the climbing line, ascend and do the cam checks and descend again. Climbing up to the cams and visually checking them regularly was worth the small amount of time it took, we managed to save two cams that had been semi opened by inquisitive animals before great damage was done. If we had down loaded data via blue tooth or 4g with out climbing up to the cams we may not have discovered this.

Hi Ben,


If you are able to get the camera above the canopy, or at in a place with some exposure to sunlight, you could consider the Solaris Weapon:

As it has an inbuilt solar panel and battery, along with Bluetooth and Wifi. And this is way out there, but I've considered a trail camera mounted onto a drone, the latter being able to be remotely powered on and off, for this sort of thing before. I never actually followed through, but in principle, if you could manually install a stable platform and devise some sturdy way of attaching the detaching the drone to and from the platform, you could, in theory, explore this. Maybe bring lots of spares for in-field drone repairs!!

Anyway, enough wacky ideas from me and best of luck with your project.




Ben, I have just noticed you work at Chester Zoo. 

I am due to be at Welsh Mountain Zoo on Fri 22nd and Sat 23rd giving talks about our Margay project that uses arboreal camera traps in Panama. We will have a bunch of kit with us (climbing kit and camera trap kit), if you can make it there, would be more than happy to have a chat with you about arboreal camera trapping. One of your Chester Zoo colleagues is actually also planning to come. Send me a message if you want more details.

Given your background, thought you might like this image of a green iguana, taken by camera trap at 25 meters. It took us three attempts to get this position right. The first two attempts produced thousands of miss triggers, this final position worked.

Image: Lucy Hughes The Margay Project