discussion / Camera Traps  / 19 December 2018

Feedback Wanted: Security Enclosures

Hi all,

If you could design and build a security enclosure for a camera trap what would you do?

I am interested to hear any and all thoughts on security enclosure specifications people might have, mods people have made for their exisitng enclosures and pros and cons that you might have found about specific types when using them in the past.

If anyone has come across a winning design please let me know!

I am also interested to hear about what methods for securing enclosures to trees or the ground have been tested and used and what sort of locks and security fixtures people have used too.



Hi Sam,

Please see https://theconversation.com/how-to-stop-the-thieves-when-all-we-want-to-capture-is-wildlife-in-action-73855 and http://www.publish.csiro.au/am/am12014

All the best,


Hi Sam,

I've had a lot  of issues with camera traps being stolen or damaged, or in some cases the data cards stolen but cameras left intact. I imagine there is no foolproof method but in my experience, having a metal case with bolts at the front to tighten and metal bars behind, with which the whole device can be locked to the tree or post helps. We've used this for our Cuddeback camera traps. This way, there is no way for people to damage or steal the camera except by cutting down the whole tree, so chances of damage or stealing are greatly reduced. However, this increases the weight of each camera with accompanying metal box to more than twice, so it might be difficult if you have to carry each device.


Yep, security is a massive problem. We just lost a bunch of cameras recently despite sturdy security boxes etc. Euan's links provide some very useful perspectives on what's been (or is being) trialled to reduce theft and damage. I had an idea of using something like the dye cartriges used in some shoplifting prevention methods (the cartridge bursts if an attempt is made to remove it - http://www.losspreventionsystems.com/alpha-ink-tag-an-anti-theft-device-to-dye-for/). Obviously, the idea would need to be adapted to get it to work properly on a camera, but the principle does seem to deter shoplifitng (apparently). Tamper sirens might also be a deterrent in some cases.  

As Paul Meek mentions in the Conversation article Euan linked to, when it comes to motivations for stealing and damaging camera "...there is no intellectual evaluation of the activity". A few cases probably relate to drug growers or other nefarious activities. Code locking, even when advertised, doesn't seem to prevent theft, and expecially doesn't prevent damage. Trying to get to the human behaviour itself could probably help us understand how to prevent it. For example, there are growing privacy concerns (see another article from Paul: https://theconversation.com/the-privacy-problem-with-camera-traps-you-dont-know-who-else-could-be-watching-97695 and also: https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/11/camera-traps-designed-for-animals-are-now-invading-human-privacy/).

Close collaboration and discussion with local communities in the areas of cameras is therefore a good idea in some cases, especially if it alleviates privacy concerns. 

I also think that camouflaging cameras probably has the most merit, as trying to make a grinder-proof (or stronger) security box seems ultimately problematic, or tracking stolen cameras only adds to the cost (even though trackers are coming way down in price). Disgusing cameras as something no one is interested in or notices (e.g. a rock, a tree branch etc.) is better than trying to stop theft/damage in my opinion. I once made a camera that looked like a limb of tree (basically I put it inside a PVC tube and covered it in bark) and I am pretty confident no one ever saw it. 

Anyway, a very useful discussion so thanks for posting. Looking forward to reading other ideas.



Hi Sam

I'd also be interested to hear of good solutions here. When we recently surveyed camera-trappers from a fairly broad cross-section we found theft to be a major constraint on current camera-trapping (2nd only to cost, which we all know is a big one). There needs to be some revolutionary changes in how we do things... @Rob+Appleby points to some avenues that certainly need more extensive testing. My own vote is with in-built tracking, but for now that remains difficult for the many areas which don't have phone/Wi-Fi connectivity.

FWIW, I attach here what we've used in Borneo, fairly successfully. The custom case cost ~£10 to make in a local shop, and was based on a widely-available design. The whole thing is bolted to a steel post (~£10 also), which is sunk into the ground and concreted. We had one pulled out with a car and stolen, but ~80 other locations which were fine. I'm sure this wouldn't have worked in other places though (e.g. with the determined thieves @Redfoxmeek and others in Australia have reported on).