A new way to spy on wildlife

This image of a mountain monkey was captured by a combination of standard camera trapping and new “arboreal camera traps” in Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park.

Researchers are using a combination of standard imaging techniques and remote cameras set high in trees to more accurately count population estimates of wildlife, particularly in areas that are hard to survey, like tropical forests.

“The use of ground cameras and arboreal cameras together have the potential to detect all species within a given area,” says Felix Mulindahabi from the Wildlife Conservation Society.

“These cameras could prove particularly important in areas like tropical forest, where species detection rates are often low due to poor visibility.”

So far, the team has counted 35 mammal species including primates and rodents and have even identified a new species of small carnivore in the park, the Central African oyan (Poiana richardonsii).

“Nyungwe National Park is a world class protected area. The addition of arboreal camera traps could improve future species monitoring programs,” says Felix Mulindahabi from the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The full research is published in the journal Animal Conservation.

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