Choosing a camera trap for use in an ecological study can be a difficult task, as there are many different types of commercial units available. Camera traps vary greatly in cost and ease of use as well as in trigger mechanisms, camera type, power requirements, and features available. Most importantly, they vary greatly in their performance in different field situations, including in different climates, types of studies, and target species. In this paper we present an overview of the basic technology of camera traps, including new and developing technology, and review the literature on problems frequently encountered in the field. We present a framework for assisting researchers in deciding which types of systems and features are best for different field situations. Camera traps enable researchers to study aspects of animal ecology that were previously difficult or impossible to study, but like all technologies they have limitations. Choosing the correct trap involves evaluating trade-offs between various features vs. simplicity in the field; sturdiness and battery longevity vs. weight and size, and other factors. Knowledge and experience with camera traps prior to using them in field research will greatly improve their successful use in ecological studies.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.