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Summer 2011

Newsletter Archive


Remote Camera Workshop Update

article image On February 17, 2011 a remote camera meeting was hosted in Calgary, Alberta by Parks Canada and the Miistakis Institute. Participants included researchers who use remote cameras for research and monitoring purposes, and included representatives from provincial and federal government agencies, academia, and non-governmental organizations. A total of 37 people from Alberta, British Columbia and Montana attended the daylong meeting.

The impetus for organizing the meeting was we realized that many of us had been using remote cameras for some time to try out the technology, but there hadn't been much information sharing. The organizing committee thought it would be timely to bring people from the region together to share what we've learned - our challenges and successes - and try to stimulate more scientifically defensible/rigorous use of remote cameras for research and monitoring.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss topics related to utilizing remote cameras for monitoring wildlife and humans in natural settings. Specific questions and topics addressed included:

1) For what monitoring/research purposes are people using cameras?

2) What are the data collection challenges associated with using remote cameras and what are some recommendations to address these challenges?

3) What advances have been made in image recognition and data management software?
How can databases be best structured?

4) What are the legal aspects associated with using remote cameras that take images of humans in natural environments (specifically on public lands)?

5) What are the statistical limitations and challenges associated with using data derived from remote cameras? What study design(s) should be used?

6) Establishing protocols - can we use cameras as a long-term monitoring protocol?

The meeting included many productive discussions on the outlined questions and topics.
Additionally, further questions were raised which provide potential fodder for future research and a future remote camera meeting. Some of these questions include:

*How to treat missing data from camera theft or failure and what are the implications for detectability;
*How to deal with human use data that is extraneous;
*How to best design camera projects in light of research questions;
*How to design camera traps for target vs. multiple species; and
*How to design camera projects to provide useful information for land managers.

Click here for a copy of the meeting summary.