Animal detections increase by using a wide-angle camera trap model but not by periodically repositioning camera traps within study sites

Anke Seidlitz, Kate A. Bryant, Nicola J. Armstrong, Adrian F. Wayne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

When using camera traps for wildlife studies, determining suitable camera models and deployment methods is essential for achieving study objectives. We aimed to determine if camera trap performance can be increased by (1) using cameras with wider detection angles, and (2) by periodically repositioning cameras within sites. We compared three camera trap groups: stationary Reconyx PC900/HC600 (40° detection angle), and paired, periodically-repositioned Reconyx PC900/HC600 and Swift 3C wide-angle camera traps (110° detection angle). Cameras operated simultaneously at 17 sites over 9 weeks within the Upper Warren region, Western Australia. Swift cameras had significantly higher detection rates, leading to better performance, especially for species <1 kg and >10 kg bodyweight. Reconyx cameras missed 54% of known events, with most being animals that moved within the cameras' detection zones. Stationary and periodically-repositioned Reconyx camera traps performed similarly, although there were notable differences for some species. The better performance of Swift 3C wide-angle camera traps makes them more useful for community-level and species-level studies. The increased sensitivity of the Swift's passive infrared sensor along with the wider detection zone played an important role in its success. When choosing camera trap models, detection angle and sensor sensitivity should be considered to produce reliable study results. Periodically repositioning cameras within sites is a technique that warrants further investigation as it may reduce camera placement bias, animal avoidance of camera traps, and increase spatial/habitat information when a limited number of cameras are deployed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPacific Conservation Biology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

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