Wildlife Monitoring using Camera Traps

by Paul White

For the kind of wildlife monitoring work that I do, camera traps are adequate and far less invasive than other research methods. I never bait cameras (i.e. I never leave food out to attract wildlife). I strongly disagree with baiting as this 'can' habituate individuals and promote dependence on unnatural food. 
Therefore, I would like to say that all wildlife behaviour I capture is 100% natural, but that is not always the case. Occasionally individuals notice the camera when passing, and although this has been widely studied there is no one definitive reason for it. Some believe that the infrared output (low-glow v no-glow) is the cause, whilst others believe there is an audio element when the camera is activated. 
Whatever the cause, behaviour to the stimuli very much depends on the individual animal, species and their proximity to the camera. Some act with complete indifference, momemntarily looking at the camera, whilst others reroute their path to avoid them. At the other end of the spectrum, 'camera spooks' may occur, which can be a momentary startle and jump away to a more dramatic full flight response. 
I have also noted that some wildlife are curious and will stop at the camera to look and smell. This is very common with brown bears but other species do it too. I tend to visit cameras regularly so there is the possibililty that my scent is detected.
Here is an example of a camera 'spook' when two red deer activated my camera when standing very close, causing both to jump, but not run away.

1. Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx)

2. Eurasian brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos)

3. Eurasian Wolves (Canis lupus lupus).

4. Central European or common red deer (C. e. hippelaphus).

5. Wild boar (Sus scrofa), but please be aware there are also two subpecies found locally, the Central European boar (S. s. scrofa) and Carpathian boar (S. s. attila). Without molecular taxonomy (DNA) it would be hard to be certain which is which from sightings, photos and camera trap footage.

6. European wildcat (Felis silvestris).

7. Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber).

8. European pine marten (Martes martes).

9. European badger (Meles meles).

10. European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus).

11. Yellow-necked mouse (Apodemus flavicollis).

12. Dark morph Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris).

To see a more videos please visit my wildlife YouTube playlist.