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. 


Low-cost underwater camera trapping and deep learning

Wake Forest University
This study breaks ground in outlining a methodology for a system of low-cost, long-term camera traps (Dispersed Environment Acquatic Cameras) that can be deployed over large spatial scales in remote marine environments...

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Caiman: Images as Sources of Intelligence

Sensing Clues Foundation
CAIMAN is a product from the Sensing Clues Foundation that automatically classifies animals on images from camera traps. It aims to be available by the end of 2021, contact the Sensing Clues team for more details. This...

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Technical Difficulties: Pangolin in a Haystack

Juliana Masseloux
In her case study from our Technical Difficulties Editorial Series, Juliana Masseloux discusses her challenges in working with camera traps to study elusive and rare animals like the pangolin, and shares her best advice...

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Mesh camera trap network?

Does anyone have something to share about wireless camera traps that make use of a mesh-network type of architecture. One such solution, BuckeyeCam allows cameras to route images...

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Hi Capreolus, hi all,

As this thread seems to have come alive again, I thought it might finally be time to share some of the progress that's been made on a LoRa connected camera trap system developed by the Zoological Society of London called Instant Detect 2.0. There are already some blogs on this site about Instant Detect 2.0 so I’ll just focus on the LoRa camera here.

Sending images using an off-the-shelf LoRa module and protocol isn’t possible, so we had to develop our own protocol (MAC and Application layers) from scratch using the LoRa physical layer.

We designed this protocol to meet with EU radio emissions standards and usage restrictions (duty cycles) so that the system can be CE certified, and we have also designed protocol variants for many other countries  based on their radio regulations. Our goal is to have variants developed that allow the system to be used legally in every country.

The Instant Detect 2.0 LoRa cameras have now been undergoing testing and optimisation for almost 3 years. The key requirements we have designed for and now have working are:

1. 100% reliable transmission (no images are lost in the ether),

2. maximise range (regardless of terrain and vegetation),

3. maximise speed (this reduces power consumption and on-air time),

4. multiple cameras sending images at once (deconfliction management and queuing),

5. minimise power usage so the whole network can run off batteries (including the base station),

6. easy to set-up by non-technical users (it just works).

The Instant Detect 2.0 system is now undergoing field trials to prove its capabilities and find its limits and if all goes to plan we hope to have it available sometime next year.

Hi Sam,
I´ve been waiting for your Instant Detect 2.0 .
So great to hear about your progress. Please keep us updated!

Greetings from Austria,

Hi Sam,

Impressive!  Any chance the LoRa code is open source?  I should like to take a gander.


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Technical Difficulties: Understanding the Realities

Colby Loucks
In their three-part interview from our new series Technical Difficulties, Colby Loucks and Eric Becker share the failures they've encountered and learned from throughout six years of working on the WWF-US Wildlife Crime...

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Technical Difficulties: A Deployment Checklist

Alina Peter
In Alina Peter's and Kristen Snyder's contribution to the Technical Difficulties Editorial Series, you'll receive a practical checklist of factors and questions to consider at various stages of your conservation...

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Advice needed: Beginner's Conservation Tech Starter Kit

Hi Wildlabbers! Ellie here, using our forums to get my own advice from all of you for a change! As some of you know, I don't originally come from a conservation tech...

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Hey Rob!

Thanks for all the tips! Getting 2 SD cards was a good reminder. I'd put extra batteries on my shopping list, but forgotten an extra SD card. Do you have a recommendation for a minimum SD card size?? I don't have any understanding of how long it'll take one of any size to completely fill up. 

I also think I'll try a little of both for video vs. still images, but the majority of it will probably be video to see how the squirrels are behaving/fighting. 

And I'm way ahead of you with the picnic table idea. These squirrels will be treated to some very fun props and dining opportunities along the way.


Hey Ellie--

Glad to see you getting started with this. 

I'll speak to the data-storage question, it might be worth it for you to do something like paying for extra google drive space rather than go through the external hard drive process. That way you're ensuring you don't have to worry about losing your drive or just leaving it at home. It's $30 US for 200GB of space for a year, which is quite reasonable, especially for a single recorder / camera trap. 

I'd also make sure you have an SD card reader, and maybe a sealed card holder/wallet to keep data safe while it transitions from the field. How much to budget for batteries will depend on exactly what sensors you end up purchasing but in my experience, ordering high-end alkaline batteries is the best bet (for example, in the Duracell line, their Procell D batteries really do perform better than the normal consumer level coppertop batteries). I'd recommend playing around with the scheduler software for whatever acoustic sensor you end up obtaining to figure out whether you'll be limited by power or storage depending on how you set things up.

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Old camera traps go cellular

Hi there, did you see this new gadget: spypoint cell-link? This may give our old camera traps a new life. What do you think about it? Has anyone tried a prototype? Greetings...

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Oh very cool Robin. Do you mind if I ask how much it is for the unit?

Thank Capreolus,

for your feedback, did you try it where the cellular network is weak? 

Thank you.


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App Development Environment for Commercial Trail Cameras

I have recently prototyped a programming environment that allows me to customize the firmware of a commercial trail camera (Browning BTC7A) by adding new functions/features...

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much appreesh @StephODonnell 

I've put together a short slide deck outlining the concept and status (see attached PowerPoint).  Critcally, I'm looking for a 1 to 3 "inaugural open source developers" to help launch the effort.   Ideally, these developers would be associated with a project in need of enhanced firmware. I've already spoken with @Alasdair about this, and it looks like there could be an opportunity based on one of his projects.  Please repond on this thread (or message me directly) if you know of anyone who might be interested or available.  Skillset looks like:

•C (C++?) for Feature Development

•Python (for tool development)

•Thread-X RTOS

•Embedded System Software Design

•GitHub/Colab/Open Source Development Environments

Ability to Operate (and to help define) a Nascent Software Development Environment


Akiba may be interested?

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How to dissociate the detector sensor from the camera in a camera trap surveyed area?

I want to film the reaction of a predator (wolf) attacking sheep equipped with a repellent. For that, I plan to place the sheep in a small enclosure keeping the sheep inside but...

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I think it would be technically possible. Something like the camera being put to sleep, and only activated when an outer sensor is triggered. I would be more worried about getting ethical approval for such a study where the aim is to have a live domestic animal being attacked by a predator in a confined space.

Hi Egil, indeed, ehtcial approaval is of course needed and I will ask for it for sure! (But note that it is hard to explain farmers that I need ethcial approuval for that project aiming at reducing attacks, while they get attacks every other weeks despite fences, livestock guarding dogs and/or shepherds !!).

My guess is that the camera triggering will prove to be far less of a challenge than getting ethical approval for penning livestock where predators can reach them. If you have such a high rate of wolf attacks in free-ranging flocks then you can directly measure the decrease in rate of attacks in flocks that have the repellent vs those that do not. 

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Wildlife Insights Launches

Wildlife Insights
Wildlife Insights is excited to announce the public release of their new platform! Read on to learn about all the useful features you'll find on Wildlife Insights, and check out WILDLABS' Tech Tutors episode with...

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Time lapse camera: recommendations needed

Hi, I need a good model with time lapse to take pictures in the rainforest. Any thoughts? I never used time lapse before on CT's. I am looking at the RECONYX HP2X...

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Hi again,

DSLRs are not that complicated and they are also used in rainforests by photographers (for "nice" non-sccientific images). I have heard reports that termites can be rough though! I have seen people making heavy duty metal "overboxes" to protect against asian elephant "vandalism". 

I have no experience myself with Reconyx ultra fire models and merely mentioned you might want to consider them as they have higher resolution and can thereby potentially record smaller details. With these small sensor cameras, as trail cameras are, the actually resolution is likely limited by the quality of the lens though! 

With a DSLR you have a large sensor (= good quality pixels (less noise)), full control over the lens quality and angle of view BUT the setup will be considerably more expensive. I believe you could get comparable syncronisation of multiple cameras with either DSLRs or trailcameras. 

Hi Ivonne,

Have you considered using a GOPRO? They have some pretty natty features now  and they have a good range of mounting and waterproofing gadgets. If you don’t need traditional camera trap features these work well and you can dial up the image quality to suit your needs.


Do you need the photos during the timelapse, or just all at once at the end?  If the latter, how many exposures will you need per timelapse recording?  Depending on your answers, that might limit you to only options that let you retrieve images during recording - perhaps requiring wifi or celular?

Not knowing your requirements there, just some general thoughts:


I too would think a GoPro would be an option, iff wide angle suits your purposes (though, if resolution isn't a high priority, GoPros do have exposure-time cropping options).  Cheap, robust, with myriad accessories easily available.  They also have wifi support - though, last I checked, you can't browse & download images while the GoPro is in recording mode (not even between exposures).  Maybe newer models have removed that limitation?

There's also relatively novel options like the GoPro MAX with 360° video recording.

Trail cameras

I've used several different trail cameras that have timelapse options - they're pretty common.  I haven't used Reconyx ones, though.  In general I find trail cameras to be pretty useless photographically - fine, maybe, for just monitoring wildlife activity.

Mirrorless / DSLR

If you do go for a 'real' camera, go for one with (at least the option of) a pure electronic shutter.  Few DSLRs have this option.  Some - but not all - mirrorless do.  Mechanical shutters (a) can cause motion blur and (b) tend to break after a few hundred thousand exposures.  e.g. if you're doing one exposure per minute, you'd get less than a year from most consumer cameras.

The Sony a6100 (or later) cameras are good options for this - they're old and therefore can be found very cheap, but the image quality is still light-years ahead of trail cameras & GoPros.

A slightly more up-market option - probably only of any interest if night-time exposures are important - would be a Nikon Z5.  Alas they're current-model so you probably won't find big discounts, but you get:

  • Excellent image quality (provided 24MP is sufficient resolution for you - are you aiming for 8K timelapse?).  There are higher-end options (Z6, Z7) as well as Sony a7r options if you need higher resolution or (marginally) better image quality.

  • The ability to use practically any lense ever made on them (their Z mount supports adapters to practically any other mount system).  In case you have particular lens requirements, or existing lenses you want to use.

  • Twin UHS-II SD card slots, so you can record to two cards simultaneously if data loss (from a faulty SD card) is a concern.

Keep in mind, though, that most mirrorless/DSLRs have limitations on how many exposures they'll allow on their built-in intervalometers (e.g. 9999 for Nikons).  But there's usually ways around that using $10 plug-in intervalometers, if need be (and fancier options if you want more control, such as "bulb ramping" for recording across day & night smoothly).

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24-hour monitoring of birds' nests

We're working with the Alagoas Antwren, a Critically Endangered species from the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. We've monitored the population over the past three years and...

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Hi Ben,

This is relatively straightforward. It just requires an IP network camera, a 12V PoE injector, 12V power source, high-capacity SD card and an ethernet cable to your laptop.

I designed and put this ruggedized system together in a Pelican case for outdoor use. It may interest you:

Various lenses from 2.8mm (wide-angle) to 16mm (close-up) can be used for or even thermal for complete visibility in darkness. Up to four lenses can record simultaneously for multiple angles of view.

Whist used for illegal-dumping detection in bushland, it can be equally used for your scenario.

I'm happy to give you some pointers - just reach out.

Best regards,


I would suggest, if time is of the essence, to use an off-the-shelf "security" camera.
I had some luck using Wyze cams, they are $35 apiece and connect via wifi. You power them via USB and it should be easy to set up either a large car battery with a usb charger or even a simple solar setup with a 5V output. The new version is weatherproof, although it would probably require further waterproofing for a rainforest setup. They are fairly small (I think something like a 5x5x5cm cube) and have visual motion detection, something that would be of benefit for your as it would also pick up reptiles as they move into the frame. They a microSD slot and you can view the data remotely, the app will send you notifications every time there is a movement detected. They are not in real-time but usually with less than a minute delay and for a couple of $$ a month you get unlimited cloud storage as well.
As mentioned earlier, of might be easier to run a camera on wire and power it with PoE, the connection would be much more stable but then you need to have a physical connection and a cable running through the forest which is another challenge.
Just my $0.02, keep in mind this is not as robust of a solution as, let say, envirocam, but it will allow you to set it up really quickly, given you have internet access.

Dear Anthony and Michal,

Many thanks for the suggestions! Anthony, I have sent you a message through the site you linked to. I'd be interested to know more about the cameras you are using.

Michal, it's good to know about Wyze - I had not come across them. We're working with the options we have available in Brazil for now, but in future we may decide to import equipment. It's a long and bureacratic process to do so, even for relatively simple items. We don't have internet access at the field site, so it will have to be either a cable or local wifi setup (camera to computer). When we have a system set up I will try to post some details here about how it works out.



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How do I get started with Wildlife Insights?

Nicole Flores
Catch up on our Tech Tutors episode with Nicole Flores, who answered the question, "How do I get started with Wildlife Insights?" Watch the full session below and on Youtube, and check out the resources shared by Nicole...

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Structured light/lidar /laser for measuring animals in camera traps and BRUVs.

Hi, I checked through the site but couldn't find any information, please let me know if I have missed any threads. I was just wondering if anyone is using or tried to...

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Could you explain a bit more, do you want a measurement of length, or whole volume?

Like @wkcmark said, there are some simple solutions for measuring length fish, using stereo arrangements for example (2 cams looking at the same spot from slightly different angles). I also found this creative solution, using a single camera in a special acrylic case, that makes use of refraction indices. This, again, is for underwater systems.

If you could project two lasers at a known angle on the body of the animal like in exploration submarines, you could calculate the distance from the camera and measure the animal, although this would be a manual process.

The simplest version might be a laser rangefinder, a measurement of image size, and some straightforward geometry, whihc would allow reasonable calculations of linear measurements. 

I've been wondering about rangefinding/size-measuring technologies that could be incorporated into camera traps for a long time, and am following this thread and the work of @Freaklabs with great interest.

So far I see there's stereo photography, Lidar, structured light/illumination, laser rangefinding, being suggested. I'm curious if we could come up with a relatively exhaustive list of potential technologies, then possibly discuss the pros/cons of each when used in a camera trap? For example, laser rangefinding might give precise and accurate measurements but maybe because it is an active sensor it drains the battery quickly and the laser might affect animals?

If there's interest I can start a separate thread so as to not detract from this one.

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live streaming to a cell tower

Can someone tell me what options there are to set up a live streaming camera in a remote location with direct line of sight to a Telus (Canada) cell phone tower which is about 1...

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Hi Doug. 

We often work in remote areas like rainforests, desert, Australian outback, etc so we often have to develop custom hardware. We haven't seen anything that fits our needs in a budget range that could accomodate the projects that we work on. 

We've since gottenr requests to make the devices publicly available but are still working on finding time to document and set up the manufacturing for them. 

However you may be interested in one of the designs we've been using in the Middle East and  Australian outback. It's for 3G cellular communications and has inputs for a solar panel and rechargeable batteries. We're manly using it to connect periodically to a cell tower and upload data it collects from other wireless devces (LoRa) in the area. But you can also use it for streaming if your solar/battery capacity is large enough. 

If you're interested us, please direct message us on WildLABS and we can discuss more and perhaps set you up for pre-release hardware. I've included some pics below:


Thanks for your quick response.  I am definitely interested in your device if I understand correctly.  Your device sends the camera feed to the celular network?  Telus advertises 4G/5G does that also carry 3G?  So I would need a camera, solar panel battery and a celular data plan? 


Hi Doug. 

It's actually an interesting application, however it might actually be cheaper to try and put together an off-the-shelf solution rather than go custom. There seem to be some livestreaming trailcams that might give you what you want almost out of the box. The Spartan GoLive trailcam seems like it might do this. Also other animal webcam setups seem to use a combination of WiFi security camera + a WiFi-LTE modem. This might actually be the cheaper and quicker way to go.

I do think that having a cellular streaming camera setup specifically for wildlife is a really interesting design. Trailcams are generally designed for camera trap functionality so I suspect the live functionality would be an afterthought. I'm curious if they have to deal with things like heat and recovering the stream after the communications goes down. 

In our designs, we assume a very resource constrained environment, ie: no power sources, little or no connectivity, etc. So looking at a design where it's specifically expecting a power source (ie: dedicated large solar panel) and good/decent cellular connectivity with the design focus on uptime might be something interesting to pursue. 

But for now, I recommend checking out the live trailcams or a wifi security cam + LTE bridge setup. And if you're interested in a dedicated solution specifically for wildlife cams, I'd love to discuss what the requirements would be. It might be super useful for wildlife orgs and parks to build awareness and improve funding,as well as benefit the research and conservation community.


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How do I get started with Megadetector?

Siyu Yang
Catch up on our Tech Tutors episode with Siyu Yang, who answered the question, "How do I get started with Megadetector?" Watch the full session below and on Youtube to learn how this tool can speed up the process of...

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WILDLABS Tech Tutors: Season 3

The WILDLABS Tech Tutors are back for all new season of in-depth walkthroughs, deep discussions on effective, impactful, and inclusive conservation technology project strategies, and - of course- even more answers to...

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How (some) Trail Cameras Fail + how to fix

(in addition to posting summary of these in the group spreadsheet dedicated to the topic) I recently published a longer form version of trail cameras failure symptoms, root causes...

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That's such a cool list. Thanks for posting it!


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Sourcing camera traps in Ukraine - advice needed!

Hi all,  We're planning some monitoring work using a grid of camera traps, in Ukraine. Due to high import taxes for anything coming in from the EU we'll need...

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Maybe try sourcing from Aliexpress?  I an't speak to the quality, but at some price point it becomes worth looking into this option.


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