Sensors / Feed

Want to talk about sensors that don't quite fit into any of our tech-specific groups? This is the place to post! From temperature and humidity to airflow and pressure sensors, there are many environmental sensing tools that can add valuable data to core conservation monitoring technologies. With the increasing availability of low-cost, open-source options, we've seen growing interest in integrating these kinds of low bandwidth sensors into existing tools. What kinds of sensors are you working with?


Autonomizing Small Mammal Traps

If there was a product on the market that was capable of trapping, ‘tagging,’ and releasing an individual without human intervention, would you or your peers invest? Live mammal...

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One thing to keep in mind is that researchers often want or at least would like to get certain metadata on the tagged animals like sex, size, weight, apperent fitness etc. Without these the questions you can ask can get rather limited. Also, it will also often be highly desired to take samples like blood, hair, other tissue e.g.

In addition, there can be cases where it may be better not to tag the animal if it is not the right age group, is too small to carry the tag, seems like it is not in a good shape etc.

I think it will take quite an effort to get automated systems (capture robots) to make these decisions to a degree you can trust.



I always thought a tracker that attached like a slap bracelet would be sweet.

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Remote weather stations

Hi sensors group! I'm hoping to incorporate fine scale weather data (wind, precipitation, temperature, etc) into my research, which will be situated in a fairly remote area of...

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While pretty expensive, everyone I know has had good experiences with the HOBO weather stations and can be customizable if needed. Would still be my rec if you need something ASAP 

Hi Carly, thanks for this. I forgot to mention HOBO in my original post, but I had them down as the main available option. Think it might have to be them, I'll have to check for $ down the back of the sofa...

I came across this which looks like it might work for you.

Others have mentioned Davis.  I used the Davis vantage pro2 in a previous life, and the cabled version was about USD200 IIRC. However, it must operate with a display console, which can take an optional data logger, but the console is intended to be kept indoors.  This means providing a weatherproof enclosure for it in the forest, in addition to a mast for the anemometer etc.

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Wishlist for kit in a field-based Research Station or tech testing space?

Hi wildlabbers!A colleague is looking to crowdsource some advice: what would be on your wishlist for kitting out a field based space for research and tech development?...

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Regine Weckauf over on linkedin

'Little to do with research and tech development, but given how hard it is to attract and retain experienced staff to field based positions, I know it makes a difference how nice the space is. Just because it's the "field", shouldn't mean staff living in basic conditions, regardless of how many times we've been told to see it as a badge of honor. If you have the money, put in nice bathrooms, kitchen, living spaces, and private accommodation. Maybe even a nursery? It creates more local employment opportunities and people genuinely want to visit.'


Love the idea for in-house gear/supplies! It can be SOO difficult to travel with batteries, electronics parts with airline regs, country policies, etc. and shipping recorders/trail cams/etc. gets VERY (prohibitively) pricey in some countries with customs and taxes. Would be great to have an in-country place to source that kind of equipment. 

Housing educational resources related to that tech (in the form of people, print materials, computer tutorials) in-house would be similarly awesome. Particularly/especially in local languages.   

Having in-country wet labs as well helps the eDNA/genetics folks, since sample import/export permitting can be (always seems to be?!) a nightmare, so if you can even just do PCR and/or extractions in-country that helps a ton. 

In terms of overall field-station-wishlist - honestly, just the promise of continued funding and staff. Every field station I've been to or worked at is in a constant search for enough money to get through the next month/year, because the funding comes in the establish a station but then not to maintain it long-term. It's not sexy for a wishlist per se, but boy is it over-looked and much-needed. 

@hikinghack from Dinalab would probably have lots of good insights on this! 

My suggestion would probably be a 3D printer and Solder Station with a stock of common components. With those two things you can solve most problems.

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Instant Detect 2.0 and related cost

I am doing a research project on rhino poaching at Kruger National Park. I was impressed with the idea of Instant Detect 2.0. I do not know the cost involved with installing that...

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Hi Kaarthika, hi all,

ZSL's Instant Detect 2.0 is currently undergoing Beta testing with external partners and so is still pre-production. We therefore do not have final pricing for the system. 

Saying this, we have got a manufacturing partner fully set-up who has already completed two full build rounds of the system, one in 2020 and another in 2023. This means we actually have a very good idea of the system's build costs and what these are likely to be when we can manufacture the system in volume.

While I cannot release this pricing yet, I am confident that we will have an unparalleled proposition.

In particular, the satellite airtime package we can supply to conservationists due to the generosity of the Iridium Satellite Company means that each system can send 3,600 (25-50KB) images a month from anywhere in the world for a single fixed fee. This equates to around a 97% discount to the normal commercial rates. 

We are currently very busy fundraising so that we can make this final step to scale the system. 

If we can secure this funding, we hope to go into volume production by mid-2024.

Best wishes,


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Insight; a secure online platform designed for sharing experiences of conservation tool use.

A secure platform designed for those working to monitor & protect natural resources. Insight facilitates sharing experience, knowledge & tools to increase efficiency & effectiveness in conservation. By sharing we reduce time & money spent to find, test, & implement solutions.


Project Update: Improving satellite ear tag transmitters for Polar Bears

I was just delighted that WWF's Sybille Klenzendorf and Mistywest's Tony Jackson joining us to talk about the polar bear ear tag they've been working on for the past few years....

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Hey Rob! I also missed this variety hour thinking it was the next day. I enjoyed the recording on youtube though!

Your thoughts on distributing the components to both sides of the ear is interesting. One thing to consider is heat dessipation, I believe. I believe it is important to consider how heat conducting the part going through the ear is. A few cables would perhaps be OK. Ruggedness should have a very high priority and the more compact the device is the better, I would think.

Interesting stuff you shared about the antenna!




Cheers @Lars_Holst_Hansen , yes, the antenna foam spacer idea certainly helped us a bit. I completely agree though that ruggedness, especially on a polar bear (a bit different from a koala 'bear') is a top priority, so there's a lot to consider. 



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Song Meter Micro experience?

Hi everyone, First off, what a great community this is! I only recently found out about it, and it seems like a game changer, especially for early career folk like me.I was...

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Hi Lucy, 

Sorry! I was in the field by the time you replied, and have not been back long. I realise it's been months now, but are you still planning on using the SM Micros? If so, please have a look at my thoughts in the new comment on this thread. I would think in Norway, the stridulating insect issue would not be as bad as in the tropics. Depends on what you want to use them for. Battery life is still definitely an issue though, and even more so in low temperatures. Good luck, let me know how you get on, or if you went with a different recorder.



Hi everyone. I am suuuuuper late on this discussion but I just finished 6-month fieldwork deploying 18 SM Micro over 70 different locations in Java, so I thought I would like to share my opinion on this device. So my work is basically installing each recorder in one location for the duration of 7-14 days before moving it to a different location, with battery and silica gel changed in between every deployment. Here's my thought:

Waterproofing - The first 2 months of the fieldwork was the wettest season I have ever experienced in the field. Extreme rain almost on a daily basis. Most of the time the recorder was working just fine except for the 2nd week of deployment when I found the inside a bit wet, but it was probably because I forgot to ensure that both lids were clicking.  The recorder still works fine after this deployment, and this was when I decided to change the silica gel before the next deployment.

Sound quality - As mentioned by others. there's an annoying peak at 6kHz. I did not originally plan to do soundscape analysis so it wasn't a big problem at the beginning, but now there is some discussion on doing so. Other than this I found the quality to be just adequate.

Battery Life - I am using alkaline 1,5 volt (non-rechargable) battery and get ~120 hours of recording, with a sample rate of 32khz. Suitable for my method, but certainly not for longer deployment.

Safety - My field site is full of a poacher who does not like to be detected, and the rangers warned me so many times about the camera trap that was destroyed or stolen by these people. I used steel cable and a small carabiner-style padlock which I later realized wouldn't stand a chance against a few hits of the machete, but luckily no recorder went missing--mostly because I tried to hide it as far as possible from the trails and cover our tracks. The small size of SM Micro makes it easy to hide among foliage (be careful on contact noise between leaves and recording), and the fact that it is colored green and has no external light also greatly helps (unlike Swiftone. Seriously, who thought that white is a perfect color for an expensive device that will be left in the forest for a long time?)

In conclusion, it is a cheap and easy-to-get device (compared to the mythical Audiomoth) for species presence detection in a short time like I did, but certainly not for longer deployment or more intricate bioacoustic analysis. 

Hi everyone, 

I wanted to provide an update on behalf of Wildlife Acoustics regarding some of these comments in this thread. As some of you may know, we have just announced the second generation of our Song Meter Micro. Along with 33% longer battery life due to an expanded battery tray (which now holds 4 AAs instead of 3), the Song Meter Micro 2 will also have a flatter frequency response. Though we don’t have a firm release date at the moment, we are currently looking at an early 2024 release, with pre-orders likely to start at the end of 2023. Detailed frequency response charts and specs will also be posted to our site soon. In fact, we have built an anechoic chamber in our new office and will be doing detailed testing with a host of new precision instruments. For more info on the Micro 2, check out our current product page. Lastly, thanks all for your open and honest feedback. It allows us to make our products better and better for you. 

Anechoic Chamber

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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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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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1st Wildlife Scientific Conference 2023

Don't miss the Wildlife Research & Training Institute (WRTI) 1st Wildlife Scientific Conference to be held in Naivasha, Kenya, under the theme: “Use of Wildlife Science for enhanced Biodiversity Conservation and...

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Best Temperature/ Humidity Dataloggers

I'm after getting 20-25 temperature and humidity dataloggers for deployment in the field. I've considered iButtons and other single-use devices but would rather invest in...

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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


Innovation in Environmental Monitoring

UK Research and Innovation
Applications are now open for an open capital funding opportunity for projects demonstrating innovative approaches toward environmental monitoring at a sensor or systems-based level.

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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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Human-Elephant Conflict Tech Solution in Tsavo: NdovuCare

Sandra Maryanne
Read our interview with Sandra Maryanne, a young conservation tech innovator raised in Taita, Ivarenyi with first-hand experience on the challenges of human-elephant conflict within her community. To address this, she...

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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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