Motion cameras an attractive tool for land managers

17 November 2014

Djelk rangers in Arnhem Land are one of many groups using motion detection cameras for wildlife surveys in northern Australia

Over 50 stakeholders interested in biodiversity conservation are gathering in Darwin today for a one day workshop on wildlife monitoring using motion detection cameras.

The Northern Hub of the National Environment Research Program is running the special session as part of the Territory Natural Resource Management 2014 Conference.

The workshop is based on the results of the hub’s terrestrial biodiversity monitoring research project conducted by Northern Territory Government scientists.

Many of northern Australia’s mammals are nocturnal and shy. Without the right survey techniques land managers may not be aware of which species are on their land, or if animal numbers are going up or down.

Motion detection cameras are an attractive option for surveying and monitoring wildlife because they are less labour intensive than traditional scientific monitoring methods and anyone can learn how to use them.

Research Leader Dr Graeme Gillespie, from the Department of Land Resource Management, says the cameras can be left out until it’s practical to pick them up, which makes them an effective option for groups working in remote areas.

“During our research we trialled different arrangements for setting up cameras, until we have found a method that consistently gives good detection rates for most species, so other groups can benefit from our experience,” Dr Gillespie said.

“There will be a lot of value in groups adopting the same method when they are doing wildlife surveys, because then it’s possible to compare results from different areas,” he said.

Dr Gillespie said the participants will learn the benefits of camera trapping and how the method works, before they put their new found skills into action in bushland.

“We have a wide range of participants taking part; Indigenous rangers, government land managers, park managers, and people from environment organisations and industry groups,” he said.


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