Camera traps have been a key part of the conservation toolkit for decades. Remotely triggered video or still cameras allow researchers and managers to monitor cryptic species, survey populations, and support enforcement responses by documenting illegal activities. Increasingly, machine learning is being implemented to automate the processing of data generated by camera traps.
A recent study published showed that, despite being well-established and widely used tools in conservation, progress in the development of camera traps has plateaued since the emergence of the modern model in the mid-2000s, leaving users struggling with many of the same issues they faced a decade ago. That manufacturer ratings have not improved over time, despite technological advancements, demonstrates the need for a new generation of innovative conservation camera traps. Join this group and explore existing efforts, established needs, and what next-generation camera traps might look like - including the integration of AI for data processing through initiatives like Wildlife Insights and Wild Me.
Our past Tech Tutors seasons featured multiple episodes for experienced and new camera trappers. How Do I Repair My Camera Traps? featured WILDLABS members Laure Joanny, Alistair Stewart, and Rob Appleby and featured many troubleshooting and DIY resources for common issues.
For camera trap users looking to incorporate machine learning into the data analysis process, Sara Beery's How do I get started using machine learning for my camera traps? is an incredible resource discussing the user-friendly tool MegaDetector.
And for those who are new to camera trapping, Marcella Kelly's How do I choose the right camera trap(s) based on interests, goals, and species? will help you make important decisions based on factors like species, environment, power, durability, and more.
Finally, for an in-depth conversation on camera trap hardware and software, check out the Camera Traps Virtual Meetup featuring Sara Beery, Roland Kays, and Sam Seccombe.
And while you're here, be sure to stop by the camera trap community's collaborative troubleshooting data bank, where we're compiling common problems with the goal of creating a consistent place to exchange tips and tricks!
Header photo: ACEAA-Conservacion Amazonica
In this case study, WILDLABS member Sol Milne takes us through his Ph.D. work investigating how changing land-use is affecting orangutan distribution in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. With the help of five local research...
22 October 2018
Machine learning is widely recognized as the solution to camera trap data processing, but a user-friendly and broadly-accessible system for putting this tech to use has not yet been developed. In this case study,...
1 October 2018
Motion-sensing wildlife-tracking cameras in South Sudan have captured 425,000 photos, documenting species not previously known to be found in this richly forested area. The team is now asking for your help to identify ...
22 August 2018
In this case study, Sam Seccombe documents his efforts to track down an off-the-shelf remote camera setup with the capability to stream quality, reliable video from the field. As he explains, it was a slighlty more...
25 July 2018
This latest chapter in the Conservation Technology Series from WWF-UK looks at the opportunities, challenges and state-of-the-art of satellite remote sensing for conservation applications. This issue reviews available...
23 April 2018
Are you an architect, engineer, designer or a scientist? Can you design and manufacture a prototype open source plant-BES (bio electrochemical system) to power a camera trap and environmental sensors in tropical forests...
3 April 2018
Hundreds of people joined our #Tech4Wildlife photo challenge this year, showcasing all the incredible ways tech is being used to support wildlife conservation. We've seen proximity loggers on Tasmanian Devils in...
3 March 2018
‘The Field’… Say the words ‘The Field’ to a group of conservationists and it will immediately conjure up vivid memories of everything from sticky wet rainforests to burning dusty deserts. What’s more, it’s almost...
17 January 2018
A new research project is looking to investigate whether technology combined with the ancient skills and knowledge of Namibian trackers can help save cheetahs from extinction. Called FIT Cheetahs, the research project...
4 December 2017
Our panel of international experts has been hard at work reviewing the 47 proposals we recieved for innovative technological tools to address human wildlife conflict. The panelists have systematically been assessing the...
20 October 2017
The inherent complexity of not only deploying technologies in the field but also doing so in a scientifically rigorous manner can prove a substantial barrier for the effective use of conservation technologies, and clear...
11 October 2017
As pressure on marine resources increases, fishers have to explore deeper and deeper waters to make a living. What does this mean for Belize’s deep-sea sharks? In an effort to understand the threats to these animals,...
26 September 2017
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The British Ecological Society's journals always have topics that will interest our conservation tech community - in this particular issue, you'll find research on a large-scale camera trapping effort to monitor mammals, as well as the role of citizen science in data analysis for that project.
New paper - An evaluation of platforms for processing camera-trap data using artificial intelligence
13 January 2023 12:14am
We review key characteristics of four AI platforms—Conservation AI, MegaDetector, MLWIC2: Machine Learning for Wildlife Image Classification and Wildlife Insights—and two auxiliary platforms—Camelot and Timelapse—that incorporate AI output for processing camera-trap data. We compare their software and programming requirements, AI features, data management tools and output format. We also provide R code and data from our own work to demonstrate how users can evaluate model performance.
New paper - Real-time alerts from AI-enabled camera traps using the Iridium satellite network: A case-study in Gabon, Central Africa
13 January 2023 12:12am
Sending real-time alerts from ecological sensors such as camera traps in areas with poor data connectivity is complex and involves integrating a large number of potentially complex hardware and software components. Our results demonstrate that these components can be successfully integrated to achieve reliable, near real-time alerts from camera traps under challenging field conditions.
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New paper - Snapshot of the Atlantic Forest canopy: surveying arboreal mammals in a biodiversity hotspot
28 November 2022 4:11pm
Arboreal camera trapping confirms occurrence of the thin-spined porcupine and several critically endangered species in Caparaó National Park, Brazil.