Australian Mammalogy Australian Mammalogy Society
Journal of the Australian Mammal Society
RESEARCH ARTICLE

More haste, less speed: pilot study suggests camera trap detection zone could be more important than trigger speed to maximise species detections

Bronwyn A. Fancourt A D , Mark Sweaney B and Don B. Fletcher C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Woodlands and Wetlands Trust, PO Box 58, Fyshwick, ACT 2609, Australia. Present address: Biosecurity Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, PO Box 102, Toowoomba, Qld 4350, Australia.

B ACT Parks and Conservation Service, Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate, 66–68 Grimwade Street, Mitchell, ACT 2911, Australia.

C Conservation Research, Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate, PO Box 158, Canberra City, ACT 2601, Australia. Present address: 15 Wandoo Street, O’Connor, ACT 2602, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: Bronwyn.Fancourt@daf.qld.gov.au

Australian Mammalogy - https://doi.org/10.1071/AM17004
Submitted: 3 February 2017  Accepted: 30 March 2017   Published online: 30 May 2017

Abstract

Camera traps are being used increasingly for wildlife management and research. When choosing camera models, practitioners often consider camera trigger speed to be one of the most important factors to maximise species detections. However, factors such as detection zone will also influence detection probability. As part of a rabbit eradication program, we performed a pilot study to compare rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) detections using the Reconyx PC900 (faster trigger speed, narrower detection zone) and the Ltl Acorn Ltl-5310A (slower trigger speed, wider detection zone). Contrary to our predictions, the slower-trigger-speed cameras detected rabbits more than twice as often as the faster-trigger-speed cameras, suggesting that the wider detection zone more than compensated for the relatively slower trigger time. We recommend context-specific field trials to ensure cameras are appropriate for the required purpose. Missed detections could lead to incorrect inferences and potentially misdirected management actions.

Additional keywords: Ltl Acorn, Ltl-5310A, PC900, rabbit, Reconyx, trigger delay.


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