Abstract # 4575 Event # 137:

Scheduled for Friday, June 21, 2013 04:15 PM-04:30 PM: Session 19 (Auditorium) Oral Presentation


CANOPY CAMERA TRAPPING: AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR NON-INVASIVE DATA COLLECTION

T. Gregory, F. Carrasco Rueda, J. Deichmann, J. Kolowski and A. Alonso
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, 1100 Jefferson Dr., SW, MRC 705, Suite 3123, Washington, DC 20013, USA
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     While camera trapping has been used extensively to study terrestrial wildlife, it has been used relatively little for canopy studies. Cameras are much more exposed to environmental elements in the canopy and are therefore prone to take “false” photos. However, the versatility and relatively non-invasive nature of camera trapping, combined with recent technological improvements on the cameras themselves, make it a very useful tool for canopy research. We present data on a year-long study in the Lower Urubamba Region of Peru where we are analyzing animal use of natural crossing points (i.e. branches) over the top of a natural gas pipeline right-of-way clearing. At the crossing points, we have placed Reconyx PC800 Hyperfire cameras in 25 locations at a mean height of 25m, and after six months of data collection we have over 5,000 photos of 17 species of mammals, including five primate species, and over 20 bird and reptile species. Statistical analyses revealed that “false” photos can be minimized if leaves are removed from as far in front of the camera as possible and if cameras placed high in the canopy are on large branches, in large trees, close to the main trunk, and in protected locations. The data indicate that animals detect the cameras but do not change their activity patterns to avoid cameras, suggesting that cameras are a relatively non-invasive research tool.