In conservation, camera traps are used for biodiversity surveys as well as to identify individuals. Scientists commonly use this method for identifying and estimating populations of nocturnal species and predators.
Camera traps aren’t only about putting a camera in the veld and leaving it there. One has to go and collect the photos, sort them and identify each species captured. It is much more labour intensive than one would think.
At Ezemvelo Nature Reserve we started experimenting with camera traps a few months ago. Snapping nature at its finest moments, we were able to observe all forms of behaviour, from curiosity to drinking and eating.
The camera traps are fast enough to capture a bird in full flight and even lightning! In the past few weeks we have captured over nine thousand photos of different animals. We positioned one camera close to a carcass where black-back jackals where feasting.
As time progressed, all sorts of animals came close to the trap, looking deep into the eye of the camera. We managed to capture some weird and wonderful photos of animals, like our black wildebeest tasting the camera. There were even some animals that moved our traps while enjoying the pole as a new scratching post in the middle of the veld.
The reason for the camera traps on Ezemvelo Nature Reserve is to look for predators and nocturnal animals that we cannot easily see. We have not yet been fortunate enough to see predators like leopards or caracal, or nocturnal species like aardvark, but we did manage to capture images of the illusive bush pig. We are still keeping our fingers crossed and moving around the cameras to used game paths, so we hope to see these animals in the near future.
Visit our Facebook page for some more crazy, beautiful photos. It is truly amazing to see some of these animals so close through the camera lens.