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Looking for a place to discuss camera trap troubleshooting, compare models, collaborate with members working with other technologies like machine learning and bioacoustics, or share and exchange data from your camera trap research? Get involved in our Camera Traps group! All are welcome whether you are new to camera trapping, have expertise from the field to share, or are curious about how your skill sets can help those working with camera traps. 


Good Thermal/ Night Vision Cameras?

Hi! I am doing research for starting up my thesis and am trying to figure out the best equipment to do it. My idea is to get night time data of seals hauling out (laying on...

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@LucyHReaserRe At this area in the past, we have tried using a normal trail IR camera, but with very limited sensitivity. I have thought about adding the IR fog lights out there to help, but was leaning towards the thermal cameras to allow for more types of data to be taken from the images in the future i.e. age class based on heat signatures. 

Thank you all for providing input, I will look into each of these ideas! 

I'm jupping into the discussion, with a similar objective. I'm looking for a thermal camera trap, (I know cacophony). it would be use to improve invasive speices monitoring especially for rats and feral cats.

Any idea?


Hi @mguins , as @kimhendrikse mentioned resolution (and also brand) for thermal cameras can dictate a big jump in price. GroupGets has a budget Lepton (FS - short for 'factory second' I think) if you wanted to check one out: 

They also have a bunch of other Flir products and boards for interfacing with Leptons etc., so worth a browse of the shop. It could also be worth taking a look at Seek modules, some of which @Alasdair has experience with : (e.g. 

They also have modules you can connect to a mobile phone: 

@TopBloke I'd be very keen to see your Lepton camera trap too! 






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Thermal cameras for monitoring visitors in highly vulnerable conservation areas

Hi everybody, Im Alex González, a consultant and researcher in sustainable tourism and conservation. I'm currently consulting a conservation organisation for the development...

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At Ol Pejeta, through the Kifaru Rising project, we have 19 FLIR thermal cameras that we use to address poaching as a conservation challenge.

The cameras have been deployed along a key fence line and are monitored 24/7 by a dedicated team.

The cameras have inbuilt analytics capabilities which allow us to design virtual fences/boundaries. 

An Alert is  generated whenever a human or vehicles crosses the virtual fence. Following an alert, appropriate ranger action is undertaken depending on the video content recorded with each alert.

I think the Alert feature available with these cameras could be leveraged to monitor the wildlife visitor interaction, seeing as a video clip is recorded with each alert, the thermal video clips could be reviewed to assess the wildlife-human interaction effects.


I have been involved in people detection tech for more than 10 years and have an open source project that uses CNN computer vision for object detection and alerting, including people (

I also have several thermal cameras here. note, the people detection can also work fine on thermal images. Mostly I've stopped using thermal cameras because normal cameras work so well with modern models that they no longer have an advantage perse. If you really need to detect people in pitch darkness though, using a thermal camera in combination with image detection would be better than just thermal movement detection.

Let me know if I can help in any way. I know this is quite an old post though.

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Turn old smartphone into IA camera trap?

I know that there is several IA camera trap development ongoing from the poachercam to trailguard...ects... I also know that it is possible to turn an old phone into a security...

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Any news regarding this topic ?

Despite the power challenges noted in this thread, I think the “used” stream of smart phones is a viable platform for trail cameras.  Having successfully hacked in custom features into closed source trail camera firmware ( , I am also hoping that software development on smart phones is a better way to do feature innovation on trail cameras.

I have just “started” on a trail cam app for iPhone 12 pro (not that “old” yet, but it will be by the time I’m done, and it’s the first iPhone with LIDAR).    I have done some toy apps on the iPhone before, but am mostly blissfully unaware of how much work this will be :) None-the-less, goal is to have a prototype working in the back yard by July 15, 2024.  I’ll post a project link on this thread as soon as it’s up.  

I’m just working on requirements now.  My primary focus is on improving image quality, and capture efficiency vs. existing trail cameras for wildlife photography. For example:

  • Using camera image quality library to improve low light captures, exposure, etc. 
  • Improving trigger versatility and accuracy using LIDAR sensor
  • Tracking auto-focus based on LIDAR
  • Negative trigger delay for daylight shots
  • Support for custom lighting via “ensemble” sets

It seems wrong not to leverage cellular connectivity, though this is a lower priority for me because most of our sets are beyond cell phone coverage. 

I did find an interesting app – “Motion Detector Camera” by Phil Bailey   this app uses some parameterizable motion detection algorithm to trigger still images (free version). It’s pretty slick.  I’m starting w/ LIDAR because I want to have a trigger that works in the dark. 

Note that none of these require any AI processing of the images, though I have no doubt a smart phone would be a great place to do that one way or another.   Do you have specific usage models/requirements in mind for in-phone image processing/classification? 

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Q&A: UK NERC £3.6m AI (image) for Biodiversity Funding Call - ask your questions here

In our last Variety Hour, Simon Gardner, Head of Digital Environment at NERC, popped in to share more about their open £3.6m funding call supporting innovation in tools for...

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This is super cool! Me and @Hubertszcz and @briannajohns and several others are all working towards some big biodiversity monitoring projects for a large conservation project here in panama. The conservation project is happening already, but hubert starts on the ground work in January and im working on a V3 of our open source automated insect monitoring box to have ready for him by then.


I guess my main question would be if this funding call is appropriate/interested for this type of project? and what types of assistance are possible through this type of funding (researchers? design time? materials? laboratory field construction)

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Camera traps statistics

Hello Community,I am currently working on specifying some camera trap projects and am particularly interested in gathering statistics on the average number of detections per...

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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...

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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

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A low-cost, long-running, open-source stereo camera for tracking aquatic species and their behaviours

Have you ever wanted to continuously film underwater species and their behaviours for up to 2 days at a low cost?

Well now you can with this new open-source design guide published in


Testing Raspberry Pi cameras: Results

So, we (mainly @albags ) have done some tests to compare the camera we currently use in the AMI-trap with the range of cameras that are available for the Pi. I said in a thread...

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And this is a piece of the event reporting page, each of the buttons to the right of the event name can be clicked on to see a video of the event from that particular camera perspective. The whole system is configurable via a gui and has the concept of "state" that can be controlled with mobile phone buttons that control the actions that are executed by input events, which in this case are triggers from the object detector.

And finally for now, the object detectors are wrapped by a python websocket network wrapper to make it easy for the system to use different types of object detectors. Usually, it's about 1/2 a day for me to write a new python wrapper for a new object detector type. You just need to wrap in the network connection and make it conform to the yolo way of expressing the hits, i.e. the json format that yolo outputs with bounding boxes, class names and confidence level.

What's more, you can even use multiple object detector models in different parts of a single captured image and you can cascade the logic to require multiple object detectors to match for example, or a choice from different object detectors.

It's the perfect anti-poaching system (If I say so myself :) )

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Camera traps reveal wildlifes' responses to megafires in Western U.S.

An interesting new paper from a camera trap surveying species' responses and resilience to megafires in the western United States. A great example of how conservation tech can help us understand regional climate change impacts.


Cheap camera traps with "Timelapse+" mode?

Hi everyone,I have a fairly specific query about camera trap time lapse functionality. I am looking for cheap models that have something similar to Bushnell's "Timelapse+" mode,...

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Thank you @mguins  and @NickGardner for your praise and addition. I had not thought of the backup possibility, but it sure is a good point, Michelle. I find it amazing how often one reads about and experiences camtrap malfunction. Even the relatively cheap ones are still quite a lot of money for what is, at the end of the day, a relatively simple piece of electronics and a plastic container.

Frank's idea of using 2 camera traps is inspired!

I've fiddled with cheap camera traps a bit, and some (most?) of them use a low power, inaccurate timer for the time lapse function instead of the accurate real time clock.  This is ok for Michelle's purpose, but not for Nick's as he needs to specify the exact time of day to trigger.

I made this interface to allow a camera trap to be triggered by an external device.  To it you could attach, say, a timer programmed to fire at the desired times, to cause a capture.  A $4 DS3231 RTC module could do the job, after the alarm times have been programmed into it with , for example, an Arduino.

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Bushnell cameras with date-time issues.

We have 3 or 4 cameras that reset the date and time to the factory default on a regular basis.  Resets to   10/01/2016  for example.   Could this be a problem...

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I think this is a known problem with some Bushnell models. The battery connection only needs to be interrupted for an instant (by being moved for example) and the camera resets. If a coin battery, are they still charged?

I am having similar problems with a campark camera. It's more than 4 years old, so it could be the button cell. I am also suspecting that humidity plays a role : the re-set happened a couple of times after long rain periods ( half a day or so ). Perhaps it was coincidence, perhaps some corrosion is going on.

Thanks folks.   Will go check and let you know what I learn.


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Using drones and camtraps to find sloths in the canopy

Recently, I started volunteering for Sloth Conservation Foundation and learned that it is extremely difficult to find sloths in the canopy  because: 1) they hardly move,...

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Hi Lucy,

thank you for your reply! You're right of course about the right placement of cameras and I like the suggestion of just sitting down in a tree and do nocturnal observations.

You reply made me rethink my own question a bit better. I guess, I am looking for a solution that can be scaled up without too much additional labour. Collaboration between teams might be an option. You mentioned that you were not targeting sloths, but still found some. That could work the other way around as well. I realize that it is much easier said than done, though, what with all the different observation protocols, location requirements, etc.

Can you developan eDNA test for sloths? Sample preparation techniques have evolved so that soil and leaf litter samples (or even swabs of tree surfaces) can be tested for the presence of Sloth DNA. Once you identify the trees they are in, you can conduct more intensive searches. Sniffer dogs can be remarkably effective, even if they don't count as tech. Use the dogs to indicate target trees/areas, use the eDNA testing to identify more precise locations, then conduct your canopy search.

DNA testing equipment has come down in price and improved to the point that you can get a DNA profile from a desktop profiler that costs a few thousand dollars. We're hoping to use some of this tech in a project soon, just waiting on a reply from the funding body we applied to.

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Live Streaming from a Remote Location (no cell tower access)

I have set up a live camera on a remote Malleefowl mound & whilst it is working, I would like to improve the video quality. I am using Starlink internet (satellite) & a...

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"The WiFi Solar Camera comes loaded with various features such as live monitoring ( via smartphone app ), motion sensor recording and notification alerts on detected movement, night vision, cloud storage of footage, an audio system to facilitate communication"

Hi Colin, Many thanks for your replies. Yes, Starlink provides full internet access. Our current Wifi Nest camera contains a web server & provides a html code to embed the live stream into a web page for public access. Most security cameras, due to privacy reasons, do not stream to a web page without requiring a username & password. Not a viable solution for public viewing.

We are looking for a camera with PTZ functionality that can stream to a web page without requiring a username & password.

Cheers, Graeme

Graeme, Maybe speak to a web IT expert. You may be able to have an interface on the webpage which provides the login credentials to the camera, but then passes the image (and control) to another page. Make a "masking" page that keeps the camera happy, but access and control is via another page.

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#Tech4Wildlife Photo Challenge: Judges' Panel Honorees

Please join us in celebrating this year’s top #Tech4Wildlife Photo Challenge Honorees as chosen by our panel of leading conservation organization judges, and enjoy the story contained within these entries about how our...

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360 Camera for Marine Monitoring

Hi all, I'm trying to set up a low-cost, 360 camera for underwater use. The main criteria are:1. It needs to run for 1 week, with 3* 2 hour intervals of recording per day,...

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Hi Sol,

For my research on fish, I had to put together a low-cost camera that could record video for several weeks. Here is the design I came up with

At the time of the paper, I was able to record video for ~12 hours a day at 10 fps and for up to 14 days. With new SD cards now, it is pushed to 21 days. It costs about 600 USD if you build it yourself. If you don't want to make it yourself, there is a company selling it now, but it is much more expensive. The FOV is 110 degrees, so not the 360 that you need, but I think there are ways to make it work (e.g. with the servo motor). 

Happy to chat if you decide to go this route and/or want to brainstorm ideas.



Hi Xavier, this is fantastic! Thanks for sharing, the time frame is really impressive and really in line with what we're looking for. I'll send you a message.



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Live Streaming Camera

Does anyone know of a network camera that can stream live video direct to a browser page without requiring a password? Our Nest Outdoor camera (2mp) can but we are looking for a...

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Insect camera traps for phototactic insects and diurnal pollinating insects

Hello, we developed an automated camera trap for phototactic insects a few years ago and are planning on further developing our system to also assess diurnal pollinating...

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Hi @abra_ash , @MaximilianPink, @Sarita , @Lars_Holst_Hansen

I'm looking to train a very compact (TinyML) model for flying pollinator detection on a static background. I hope a network small enough for microcontroller hardware will prove useful for measuring plant-pollinator interactions in the field. 

Presently, I'm gathering a dataset for training using a basic motion-triggered video-capture program on a raspberry pi. This forms a very crude insect camera trap. 

I'm wondering if anyone has any insights on how I might attract pollinators into my camera field of view?  I've done some very elementary reading on bee optical vision and currently trying the following: 

Purple and yellow artifical flowers are placed on a green background, the center of the flowers are lightly painted with a UV (365nm) coat. 

A sugar paste is added to each flower. 

The system is deployed in an inner-city garden (outside my flat), and I regularly see bees attending the flowers nearby. 

Here's a picture of the field of view: 

Does anyone have ideas for how I might maximise insect attraction? I'm particularly interested in what @abra_ash and @tom_august might have to say - are optical methods enough or do we need to add pheremone lures?

Thanks in advance!




Hi Ross, 

Where exactly did you put the UV paint? Was it on the petals or the actual middle of the flowers? 

I would recommend switching from sugar paste to sugar water and maybe put a little hole in the centre for a nectary. Adding scent would make the flowers more attractive but trying to attract bees is difficult since they very obviously prefer real flowers to artificial ones. I would recommend getting the essential oil Linalool since it is a component of scented nectar and adding a small amount of it to the sugar water. Please let us know if the changes make any difference!

Kind Regards, 



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Project Spotlight: Monitoring tropical freshwater fish in Kakadu National Park with drones, underwater cameras and AI

This was such a fantastic presentation in our June Variety Hour show. Andrew and his team are exploring applications of a whole range of technologies, anda are looking to share...

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During Andrew's talk, @dmorris put out a call in the chat that might be relevant to folks catching up on the video, so I'll drop it here too: 

Re: Andrew's fish work... part of the reason I got in touch with Andrew a few weeks ago is that I'm trying to keep track of public datasets and public models for marine video that have basically this gestalt (video where fish look fishy-ish). I think we're getting close to enough public data to train a general-purpose model that will work well across ecosystems. My running list of datasets is here:

Let me know if folks know of others!

There are also a grand total of two public models that I'm aware of that sort of fall into this category... one is Andrew's:

The other is:

If folks know of other publicly-available models, let me know about those too!

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