Our Wildlife Camera Trap Initiative | Cardamom Tented Camp
Camera traps serve a myriad of functions that help wildlife conservationists. They have come a long way from using tripwires and hand-operated remotes. Much of the technological development ironically stems from recreational hunters in the northern hemisphere, the cameras are now widely used to study endangered mammals and birds. Most units are automated, taking auto-focused photos with day and nighttime modes: they are connected to an infrared sensor that detects animal movement.
As a non-invasive method to study animals, conservationists can leave a minimal footprint on the animals’ habitat. With the majority of cameras utilizing clear or red infrared LED flashes now, they are less intrusive to nocturnal animals. White flash camera traps are primarily used for leopards and tigers and clearly allows researchers to compare spot patterns on the various felines.
At Cardamom Tented Camp, we plan on using the cameras to map out the territories of our more elusive species and verify the species’ inventory, their distribution, and occupancy. Our team will also work with local conservationists to study the overall community health of the Botum Sakor ecosystem.
We want to provide our guests with a window into the undisturbed wildlife corridor that was previously only accessible to wilderness trackers or researchers. With better tracking methods, we can directly observe animal behaviors and gain insights into how the habitat is used and be able to show our guests how various species interact, forage, and feed within the national park.
Initially, our team plans to install the camera traps along the riverbanks and swamp-lands near our trails. Being easily accessible, we can monitor the wear and tear of various cameras as being labeled weatherproof doesn’t make them impervious from the Cambodian heat and humidity. While out in the field, we can also get a sense of the camera’s capability and adjust the trap’s positioning for maximum visibility and a clear detection zone.
In addition, we are exploring methods of setting up camera traps to monitor the denser parts of Botum Sakor National in hopes of creating a “virtual fence.” Camera traps have been used in other parts of the world for anti-poaching roles and would aid us in our direct-protection strategies. Our Wildlife Alliance Rangers will be able to catch the poachers in the act: this surveillance will help us when we press charges against poachers and loggers. We are currently evaluating the possible risks in using camera traps compared with the benefits of receiving images in near real-time. With the large initial financial investment, the risk of theft and vandalism to the cameras is something that must be taken into consideration. If you are interested in learning more about or supporting our camera trap initiative, please contact our team.