discussion / Camera Traps  / 27 February 2024

Canopy Camera Trap for Indonesian Lizards

A colleague here in Panama, Scott Trageser, who runs https://biodiversitygroup.org/

has an interesting challenge. There’s some kind of, thought to be extinct, rare monitor lizard that lives in the canopy in trees high up in indonesia. He is part of a group that wants to put camera traps up in the canopy to find these lizards, but currently they are just climbing, setting up the trap, and then climbing back up to retrieve it. It’s super tough and dangerous and so they don’t want to do that anymore.

He’s got three tools that he wants to somehow macguyver together

  1. Tiny camera traps!
    look at this cutey! have yall seen these? According to scott, they are currently discontinued!
    But it’s very small and lightweight


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  2. Drone - Standard DJI Mavic 2 Pro. Can lift the camera with its batteries fine


    PXL_20240227_2019548441080×1434 241 KB


  3. remote control pin


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  4. (Bonus) Slap bracelet Technology


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    i have been making big strong slap bracelets to hold camera traps on trees. This holds a much heavier camera trap.


Right now he says his drone can carry the remote control pin, and the camera trap fine. He wants to be able to fly to a little branch, set a camera trap on top of a (mostly) horizontal limb. Have it be able to stay there a couple of weeks. and then be able to take it down.

Scott’s current plan is the camera would be connected to an open slap bracelet and the drone. The drone sets it on the branch, triggers the slap bracelet, and then a long pull string with a weight is dropped to pull the camera down later. I said this would involve too many difficult maneuvers and luck to be reliable. but there’s almost a functional idea in here. Anyone got good thoughts?

Hi Andrew! Great to hear your friend, Scott working in Indonesia! I bet he is working on east region with lot of cool monitor lizards!

I use Mavic 2 as well for my crocodile research in place with dense canopy and yes it was tricky! I would suggest to try DJI Avata may be better to do this task. Or maybe try equip propeller guard on the Mavic? 

Would be it possible for the drone setting up the rope and after that the camera lift up using rope and slap to your desire place? just an idea, but in OZ they use drone carrying long rope to caught the crocodile, when it caught, the drone will release the rope and shift to people to work.