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Variation in the efficacy of remote cameras used to monitor wildlife
Wildlife cameras allow conservation scientists to monitor wildlife. However, there are performance limitations associated with wildlife cameras that must be understood prior to their use. This study compared two wildlife camera models, the Spypoint Solar Trail and the Reconyx Hyperfire 2, on behalf of Calgary Captured, a collaborative project between the Miistakis Institute and the City of Calgary to determine wildlife occupancy in Calgary’s Natural Area Parks. The camera models were set up in pairs at 10 sites. There was no significant difference in detections of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) or coyotes (Canis latrans) by either model, but the Reconyx cameras successfully captured two species that the Spypoint model failed to detect: bobcat (Lynx rufus) and deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus). The Reconyx cameras had fewer trap days because the Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries supplied by Calgary Captured consistently failed in cold weather, whereas the Spypoint cameras’ solar panels continued to function through the duration of the study. Despite having had fewer trap days, the Reconyx cameras captured more species than did the Spypoint cameras. There was no significant difference in the number of false positives and false negatives produced by the two models, but only the Spypoint cameras produced malfunctioned images. For projects like Calgary Captured, the Reconyx Hyperfire 2 is a more effective camera model than the Spypoint Solar Trail because it captures more species and is less prone to malfunction. The results of this study also highlight the importance of choosing appropriate batteries and settings for the camera model in question to ensure successful use.
Calgary, AlbertaWildlife trackingRemote trackingUrban ecologyWildlife monitoringConservationCamera trap
Canadian Journal of Undergraduate Research
Undergraduate Student Research