Camera Traps / Feed

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. 


Discussion: Wildlife Institute of India to conduct first tiger estimation in nine countries

I just read a new article about a new initiative to develop new protocols for the monitoring of tigers, and snow leopard, directed by the Global Tiger Forum and led by the...

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@wildtiger @Shashank+Srinivasan @NJayasinghe Do you have thoughts on this? 

What species monitoring protcols do you know of that explicitly focus on one species?


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Discussion: Opinion of TEAM network and Wildlife Insights

So we have this camera trap dataset with all kinds of problems, and so we've been developing software that identifies the problems with the files prior to any kind of analysis...

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Thank you. I had not seen TRAPPER.
I had seen Snoopy, CameraBase, the Sanderson & Harris executables, and TEAM. And none of them had seemed suitable for the work that I was doing.
I will investigate TRAPPER further.

I like TRAPPERs video capability.
I am yet to test it out though.

Hi Heidi,

You might also consider becoming involved in the eMammal project ( that the Smithsonian has recently developed. It has tools for both uploading and coding camera trap images, with the bonus that they are ultimately archived and made available by the Smithsonian for future researchers. My opinion is that moving toward open-access data will make all of our efforts more valuable into the future. I'm using eMammal, but not one of the developers or associated with the Smithsonian.



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Standardization Discussion: Nomenclature

OK, So I cant find a standard, so I want some opinions. And so we've ended up calling a "Camera Trap Station" a "Camera Trap" but I've just been told...

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Camera trapping is the new kid on the block, and it is still talking like a 5-year old ! It will take some time, and some journal editors insisting on uniform and properly used terms before everyone can be sure what everyone else is talking about.

For what it's worth, here is what I understand when I read the terms you list;

Survey - the process of designing the study, putting out and servicing the camera traps, collating and analysing data and writing it up. So much much more than just the time that the camera traps were in the field.

Site - a spot on the ground. Usually these days specified as a GPS location. What you describe as a site I would call a study area.

Station - I do not recall having read this in connection with camera traps, and I would not use it. I admit that this is not consistent; I have read and I would use "bait station" or "feeding station" interchangebly with "baiting site" or "feeding site". It is of course possible to station a camera trap at a baiting site, or site a camera trap at a feeding station !!

Camera - is certainly a physical device that takes photos, but you cannot record animals with just a camera, you need someting to trigger it. A self-triggering camera is a camera trap (or trail camera, game camera etc).

A station session (see above about station) would be OK is site was substituted for station.


Hi folks,

for Site - in our camera trap data base we use the mountain or National/Nature park

Survey - is connected to the time scale - i.e. This mountain2015 or 2016

Station is the actual place of the cameras (1 or 2) with GPS coordinates


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Article and Discussion: Scale of camera trap studies

Dear All, I recently came across this story:, which discusses a camera...

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@heidi.h Definitely a valid question. It looks like they have it connected to a zooniverse project, which means they are using citizen science to not only set up and maintain the cameras, but to process the data. Pretty neat. 

What we do

Our main task is to get our trail camera volunteers up and running with equipment and training. Volunteers can now apply to host a camera in Wisconsin survey blocks where they have access to land (visit, keyword "Snapshot Wisconsin" for more information). Trail camera volunteers are in charge of setting up a camera and retrieving its SD card (containing saved photos) at least four times per year. Volunteers then send the photos to WDNR to be posted on Zooniverse. By the end of 2017, we expect to have enough cameras for > 2000 volunteers to participate in the project -- these cameras will produce millions of photos each year!

While we get our trail camera volunteers set up, we have plenty of other photos to show the Zooniverse community. WDNR staff have placed over 300 trail cameras in two areas of the state now home to a species of elk (Cervus elaphus) formerly abundant throughout North America. Elk were extirpated from Wisconsin in the 1800s due to overhunting and habitat loss. Reintroduction efforts began in 1995 and continue today, and we're curious to know how the elk are doing! Classifying the photos from the elk reintroduction areas will give us great information about population size and distribution, and examine how elk presence overlaps with that of wolves--natural predators of elk.


But in answer to your question, @P.Glover.Kapfer , I haven't heard of any near this large. TEAM Network would be the closest - 17 sites, 14 countries and approximately 1000 camera traps deployed over 2000km 2 that are monitored annually. @efegraus - does TEAM Network have ambitions to be expand to this sort of scale?

@ollie.wearn perhaps you might know of some other big scale camera trapping projects? 



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How many cameras in a camera trap?

So.. noting that definitions are a little loose, I am talking about a single GPS location as a "camera trap" (TEAM calls this a "camera trap point")...

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In some cases you need to recognize individuals, such as in capture-recapture analysis for abundance/density estimations, or you might want an index of individuals that are detected (instead of number of detection). 

If you need to recognize individuals is better if you have both flanks of the animal photographed, and even better if the animal has natural marks (such as rosettes or stripes like jaguars or tigers), but you can also use scars and general body complexion to help. 
You can still make a capture-recapture study with one camera trap, but you have to choose only pictures of one side of the animal to use, and discard all the other pictures of the other side (since you won't know if are the same animal), doing that you decrease the detection probability, because now it would be the product of the likelihood of the animal walking trough the camera and the likelihood of going in the direction that you need. 

Using one camera per site is a good setup for a site occupancy study, and you can even estimate abundance with the Royle-Nichols method, if your data fits it. 
I hope this helps



We have just started testing an array of three cameras recording video at an African wild dog marking site. The idea is to give seamless coverage of an area larger than can be monitored by one camera, with maximum chance of detecting animals approaching from any direction.  As a bonus it produces pictures of both sides. The cameras have only been out for a week, so it is too early to assess how well the arrangement works.

We have a set of three Bushnells covering an African wild dog scent-marking site. They are at the apices of a triangle, with each camera just at the edge of the field of view of one of the others. This gives us a higher probability of detecting animals at the site, a better view of the action on at least one of the cameras, and no dead spots below each camera.

I was hoping to use two Reconyx Ultrafire XR6s on game trails at each of ten scent stations, but the cameras cannot detect animals walking towards or away from them. 


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Internet Cats Just Got Bigger

The internet has a long love affair with cat pictures, but these aren’t your mom’s internet cats. Now internet cats are getting even bigger and wilder. In this article, Dr. Lisa Feldkamp talks about the work Panthera is...

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Perspectives from the World Ranger Congress

John Probert
The 8th annual World Ranger Congress was held in Colorado, USA from May 21-27th 2016. John H. Probert attended the conference as a representative of WILDLABS.NET. In this report he shares his experiences at the congress...

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Resource: Wildlife Speed Cameras: Measuring animal travel speed and day range using camera traps

Travel speed and day range are metrics usually derived from telemetry or direct observations. A new (open access) paper in Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation,...

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Here's a set of tools that could be applicable to this idea

Hi Steph - just to follow up on your post: @MarcusRowcliffe , James Durrant and I have been working on a bit of software to implement the "computer vision" techniques that are mentioned in that paragraph. You can see a demonstration of it in action here. It requires camera-trappers to "calibrate" their camera traps during setup (or take-down), by taking pictures of a standard object (for example, we use a 1m pole held vertically) at different distances. The calibration takes ~10 mins per location. From this, you can reconstruct the paths that animals take infront of cameras, the total distance they travelled, and therefore their speed.

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[ARCHIVED EVENT]: Approaches to Analysing Camera Trap Data

On Friday 22nd April, the David Attenborough Building Stats Club will be meeting to discuss approaches to analysing camera trap data. This is a broad field, and camera traps...

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Hi Steph,

Only just discovered this site, so I'm a bit late to the game.

I'd love to hear what your main take-aways were from this meeting!



Hi Louise, 

Welcome! Unfortunately, an uncomfortably busy calendar meant I ended up missing this gathering. However, I'm sure that @SteffenOppel @Tomswinfield  or @ali+johnston (I think you were all involved?) might be kind enough to jump in here and share some of their key take aways from this discussion?   




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Camera traps reveal mysteries of nature

Roland Kays
Sharing personal 'best of' animal pictures is a favorite pastime of many camera trappers. A prolific camera trapper himself, Roland Kays has pulled together more than 600 images collected by 152 researchers from 54...

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Discussion: Self-powered camera trap

Back in April I read about this project out of Columbia University for a self-powered camera that uses the light hitting the sensor to power the camera. It's a cool idea, and...

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I was initially thinking of dozens or maybe even hundreds of nodes coming back to a central wired connection point. I wonder if something like Google's project Loon could work in place of an on-the-ground network.

But stepping back from the tech for a moment, really the problem we're trying to solve here is being able to have remote monitoring cameras that don't need anyone to go out to change batteries or memory cards. After salaries, vehicles/transportation is the top expense at pretty much all of the conservation partners we have. Anything we can do to reduce the travel (and the time of the people as well) is huge.

So, in terms of power, does the "classic" solution with a set of solar panel cells on top of the box have some major flaws? I'm pretty sure I've seen self-powered meteo stations looking like this positioned along motorways/higways (don't remember what country or even a continent was it :-) Not being an expert in photo-voltaics, I would risk saying that a purposely-designed cell pointing up, directly at the sun, will have better efficiency than a re-purposed CMOS censor :-)

And indeed, talking to something overhead (either the baloons or Facebook's drones - forgot the name - or maybe even satellites?) would be probably much simpler than ground-based communication. If we had big enough energy budget, the communication channel would be "relatively easy" to implement...

Some camera trap manufacturers offer solar power as an add-on or option off the shelf. I agree that using the image seems like a solution looking for a problem.


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Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge Accelerator Bootcamp

Sophie Maxwell
Earlier this month, the 16 prize winners of the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge were called to Washington D.C. for an Accelerator Boot Camp. Sophie Maxwell, a member of the prize winning team from the Zoological Society...

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Project Feedback Wanted: Building Low Cost Cameras

We have been facing some problems for Cameras either for monitoring nests or for quick deployment for medical or behavioral reasons. We need them to be low cost and easy to use...

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thanks for this very interesting post! i was also trying to develop an inexpensive camera trap but with not good results. i think the use of a PIR sensor can give more battery life than motion detection via software. Can you give more details about the components you used please?


Hi Sorry been away, I'll list more about parts etc.. In the mean time the Pi Zero has just had an upgrade..

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TEAM Network and Wildlife Insights

Eric Fegraus
Operating the largest tropical forest camera trap network globally, TEAM Network has accumulated over 2.6 million images. How can large datasets coupled with new techniques for data management and analysis provide...

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