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Looking for a place to discuss camera trap troubleshooting, compare models, collaborate with members working with other technologies like machine learning and bioacoustics, or share and exchange data from your camera trap research? Get involved in our Camera Traps group! All are welcome whether you are new to camera trapping, have expertise from the field to share, or are curious about how your skill sets can help those working with camera traps. 

discussion

Global shortage of Raspberry Pis - What are the alternatives

So, there is a global shortage of Raspberry Pis, the open source micro-computer that has been popular amongst open hardware designers and hobbyists alike. Like...

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Hi @tom_august this is a very important topic given the global shortages we are seeing. I tend to use really low power micros rather than Pis for my stuff if I can, but I'd be very interested to hear about alternatives. I take it you are doing some reasonably heavy processing given the need for 4Bs? I have a few old 3s you are welcome to. A great list from @PshemekZ there. I don't know much about these: 

But didn't see them in the list. 

 @Freaklabs will likey have some ideas too. Looking forward to hearing more.

Cheers,

Rob

Unfortunately not much to add. I think there was an assumption that Raspberry Pi's would always be available and it's turning out that it's unfortunately not the case. I'm guilty of this for standard chips. I didn't think there'd be such a huge shortage that spread across so many chip families which left us scrambling.  I'm sure the supply crunch will ease up soon so the RasPi shortage should ease. It should be considered thought that should something happen to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, there's a possibility that the production could end. Since Raspberry Pi's are not open source, this would be devastating to many projects that rely on them. 

As for porting to another platform, I guess the question would be which platform to bet on for the Raspberry Pi alternate and possibly eventual successor. It would probably need to be open source, widely available, and have enough community around it to support itself. Nothing immediately comes to mind (Jetson possibly but not open source and subject to whims of nVidia).

And perhaps this could turn into a community project to come up with an open platform that conservation communities can standardize on where availability could also be guaranteed. There's a lot of exciting things happening with the RISC-V architecture, which could be a good candiate.

As an update from us, we are playing around with two alternatives:

  • Banana PI BPI-M5 M5 4GB 4 x 2GHz 
  • Radxa Rock 4 SE 

I'll update once we have results!

 

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discussion

Cameratrap flash overexposure

Hi,Having used the Bushnell E2 trophy cam and had no problems I recently purchased an E3 trophy cam. I am having issues with over exposure of the flash. I have tried it in a few...

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I have not used Bushnell camera traps for quite a while, so this may not apply, but most makes have a flash intensity adjustment. If you have already tried that without success then opaque or translucent tape over the LEDs will do the same job.

We have used cut pieces of translucent milk jug plastic to make a flash attenuator.  Stack as many as you need to reduce exposure and tape on. 

Hi @LucyHReaserRe I've found a couple of layers or three of athletic/sports tape does the trick. This kind of thing: 

Good luck,

Rob

 

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discussion

Camera Issues

Hello! I am having some inconsistent issues with some of my trail cameras. We have cameras that have SD cards, and are set but take no images for weeks. Most recently we had a...

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Thank you so much! this was great information! I will look into the SD card. The SD cards were working fine, but they have stopped. If they were incompatible they wouldn't have worked at first, right?

 

As for batteries, I am confused. Our photographer at work said lithium doesn't do well in the weather and temperature changes. On here it sounds like you guys are saying lithium is better then alkaline (which the user manual also says to use), who do I listen to?? And how do I find lithium batteries that fit the cameras?  

Hi Britnee,

Sometimes cards do just stop working/become incompatible. It could be a firmware glitch, but it's a bit like how a USB thumb drive can stop being recognised in a PC sometimes. I'd try a good quality card no larger than 32GB and with a class 10 rating, format it in the camera and then test it. You could also try formatting the cards that previously worked and trying them again. 

Lithium batteries can indeed suffer in the cold (how cold is getting there?), but alkalines are, generally-speaking, a poorer choice all around. Are you using the best quality Duracell or Energizer alkalines? They might be up for the task. You could also consider a rechargeable sealed lead acid or gel battery. They suffer a little in really cold weather (all batteries do to some degree I think), but you could compensate by getting a higher-than-necessary capacity model (for example, double what you might need for a normal deployment). You mostly just need to make or order the correct lead to plug the battery into the camera. It should say somewhere in the manual what connector it uses, but it's usually something like a 1.7mm DC plug (e.g. 

) but you'll have to double-check. 

Cheers,

Rob

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discussion

Help - Innovative ways to track elephant movement

Hi, I am working on a study to track wild elephant movement within an overlayed matrix of crop fields. We seek to understand how various landscape variables impact crop-raiding...

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Agreed, I was going to ask if you've looked into acoustic or also seismic sensors? E.g., I recently came across this paper using seismic sensors and a helpful little storymap overview of remote sensing tools for elephant monitoring, but I'm sure others here provide more insight. Also, @Alasdair / Arribada have worked on an elephant detection/early warning system using thermal sensors, not sure what the progress is but could be a helpful model on the real-time alert front!

Why would you want to avoid alerting the rangers ?

You don't need high tech for this; elephants leave very obvious tracks and sign. 

Hi Tyler,

Would like to introduce you to Ceres Tags products

  • Ceres Tags products come in boxes of 5, 10 and 24. 
  • There are some software partners such as Earthranger, Mapipedia and possibly CiboLabs that would be able to assist you with your mapping vegetation requirements
  • Ceres Tag does not require any towers, base stations and infrastructure. This allows you to see any movements from the heard outside of their normal herd (boundary alerts), and you will not be disturbing any of the flora and fauna with infrastructure set up. 
  • For the timing you are looking at, Ceres Wild pings directly to satellite 24 times a day. For Ceres Trace and Ceres Ranch there are 4 within 24 hours. Taking into consideration, when you set up alert areas, you will get them directly to your phone/laptop via your software of choice
  • Ceres Ranch is a reusable tag that has just been launched. Use it on this project, remove the tag and then use the tag on your next project
  • The software you choose will assist with the history of your animal movements. Ceres Tag is integrated with 11 software partners and in-development with 18 software partners https://cerestag.com/pages/software-partners
  • Understanding it is a short-term project, you would be able to use Ceres Tags products without the additional expense of setting up and removing infrastructure- towers, gateways
  • With Ceres Tag, you are purchasing the box of tags and picking a suitable software to deliver the information you require. On average, a box of 10 Ceres Trace Tags, is the same as 1 LoRaWAN tower. 

 

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discussion

Camera Trap repairs - suggestions?

Hi everyone!I'm currently working with FFI (Fauna & Flora International) in São Tomé and Príncipe, and a bunch of 'problem' camera traps from the field site have been...

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Excellent! Let us know if you think this could be of use @asiem 

Cheers,

Rob

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discussion

Underwater Fish Datasets from the Mediterranean

Hi Wildlabs,I am Sebastian the project manager for FishID. We are currently in the last stretch of...

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Hi Sebastian,

  How about using webcams, like this one in the Adriatic (if high enough detail): 

If not, it might be worth contacting https://reefish.umontpellier.fr/ who are based in Montpellier. They do marine research, (I think including some fish ID machine learning stuff too), so may have done work locally?

Cheers

Not sure if audio data would be of any use to you, but if so FishSounds has some - I just tried their search function and there is a location tag for 'Mediterranean & Black Sea'. 

You might try reaching out to the folks at Name that Fish, Innovasea, or perhaps an entity on the Fisheries Tech list would have Mediterranean stuff? 

Hi,

If this is still relevant, you can try reaching out to the Belmaker lab, they do BRUV surveys in the eastern Mediterranean and have hours of video, some of it I believe is annotated. Particularly, Shahar might be helpful, he's the PhD student running point on the project.

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careers

Conservation Technology Intern (Vietnam) 

Meredith S. Palmer
*New closing date!* WILDLABS and Fauna & Flora International are seeking an early career conservationist for 12-month paid internship position to grow and support the Southeast Asia regional community in our global...

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discussion

Feedback Wanted: Security Enclosures

Hi all, If you could design and build a security enclosure for a camera trap what would you do? I am interested to hear any and all thoughts on security enclosure...

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(Not sure how I missed this thread earlier).    

I think different usage models lead to different security box enclosures.  E.g:

1. High Risk Locations: You need the camera to be in a particular location, dictated by something other than optimal theft deterrence, for a long time.  Or your site features very large animals (elephants).  Here it seems like you pay the price (in weight) to make the thing as secure as possible (including on steel pole sunk into concrete!).

2. Low Risk/Exploratory: You have flexibility on where to place the camera, perhaps aimed at capturing specific animals or behavior, and can place the camera to try to make it less conspicuous to thieves.  Also, you may be changing the location frequently.  Finally, rules associated with the site may limit disturbance.  Here, you'd like some protection, but you'd like to reduce weight and impact to the site.   

We do a lot of (2).  For this, we use camera-specific, relatively thin gauge, two-piece commercial steel enclosures -- e.g. from CamLockBox.com.  These enclosures feature 1/4" holes in the back for securing to a tree; and methods for using a padlock and/or a cable lock to secure the camera in the box.  These do a very good job protecting from most animals (bears, not elephants), and deter opportunistic homo sapiens. 

Hi all,

Thank you for all your insights. I think @rcz133 has summed it up nicely: security enclosure design depends on the required usage.

I've tried to go for a design that I hope will work in most deployment scenarios. It should provide good mechanical protection from animals and if locked up properly should deter opportunistic theft as proper tools would be needed to get in.  

Thanks to Cambridge Design Partnership, I now have a finished design and will be having some built for testing in the next few weeks.

The final specifications were:

  • 16 gauge stainless steel.
  • The enclosure is made of two parts that are easy to place together into a whole.
  • The two enclosure parts fit together tightly with mechanical retention.
  • The two enclosure parts are locked together by a padlock and/or a python lock.
  • When using a python lock this also locks the camera into the enclosure.
  • When locked the enclosure cannot be pried apart with a screwdriver or knife. 
  • The enclosure locking point positioning makes it difficult for the padlock to be bolt cropped.
  • It is easy to place the camera into the enclosure so that it aligns with all lock points and apertures.
  • The enclosure securely holds the camera in place with minimal horizontal movement using internal guides or fixtures. 
  • The bottom half of the enclosure with the camera inserted can be affixed to a tree with a strap or python lock before the top half of the enclosure is attached. 
  • The enclosure can be affixed to a tree using a strap, python lock or 1/4" mounting screws points.
  • The enclosure allows water to easily exit through holes in the bottom and does not allow it too pool in the corners.
  • The enclosure provides some cover above the lens aperture to provide sun screening and rain protection to the lens. 
  • The enclosure is powder coated in a matt colour scheme of dark green or brown for ease of camouflaging.

Once I've got the prototype enclosures I am keen to put them through their paces and do some testing to destruction to find their weaknesses.

If anyone has any tests they would like to see performed please let me know in the thread. 

Thanks,

Sam 

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discussion

Rainforest SigFox available for use

Hi EveryoneJust FYI that right now we now have a SigFox gateway running to create an IoT network at the Los Amigos field station in lowland Peruvian Amazon.  Amazing forest,...

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Hi Roland,

This is really amazing, great to hear about your set-up! I'm just wondering what the overall cost was to set up this system? Just thinking in terms of setting up something similar in other parks and what they should expect with regard to price. Would also be great to hear about the overall effort, e.g., hours/team members required. It would be great to have this act as a blueprint for other organizations/research stations wishing to deploy a similar system within their respective national parks/areas/etc.! 

Hi Rolland,

Interested too, but why did you choose SigFox (a private network) rather than LoRa (open network)? 

Sigfox currently has some financial troubles that, don't know what it will become in the long term.

Hi Everyone,

We chose sigfox becuase it seems to have better range and is plug-play, whereas LoRa requires more custom programming and updating.  Getting a gateway cost us $2000 for a year's lease + deposit. We covered solar power.  There are also some 'minigateways' you can purchase but I don't know how they compare in range (plan to test).  So far we are happy with the performance, in that it has worked consistency with no outages  (once we stabilized the power supply).  I think the annual costs are about $10 per tag.  We are working on a paper that will describe this in more detail.  So far just using for tracking tags but also looking at a trap sensor.

cheers

Roland

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discussion

MegaDetector on Edge Devices ??

Hi all.  I'm a relatively new member of the community and have been trying to consume the many excellent videos, discussions and resources before asking questions. ...

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Has anyone tried running the MegaDetector model through an optimizer like Amazon SageMaker Neo? It can reduce the overall memory footprint and possibly speed up inference on devices like Raspberry Pi and Jetson.

Great work Luke @sheneman! Having a relatively lightweight bit of hardware to run MDv5 on will open up opportunities for many more people. The upfront financial cost of a Jetson Nano is an order of magnitude less than a computer with a beefy GPU. 

I haven't used any of the Nvidia edge devices yet. Do you think it would be possible for someone to make a disk image with MDv5 pre installed to lower the entry barrier of learning a new system, installing software, environments and packages etc.?

A difficulty I have seen for some projects is not having access to or not having internet bandwidth to utilize cloud compute services. If anyone needs to churn through camera trap image processing in a remote field station this may now be possible!

Great work, unfortunately, I'm not familiar with programming but computer friendly enough to follow a good tutorial. I was wondering if you will share your findings?

Thanks for the work.

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discussion

Multi-SD card reading hubs

Hi everyone,I'm writing to see if anyone has any experience with using/building hubs that can read multiple SD cards at once? I'm trying to explore ways to speed up the manual...

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Good point and nice link. My USB 3.0 (errr USB 3.1 Gen 1) portable HDD gets a real read speed of 133 MBps or ~1Gbps. The theoretical max is 5 Gbps but I think the speed is limited by processor used by the HDD/USB bridge controller. Most SD card readers may be more limited even if the SD card can handle higher data rates. That may be why it could be best to just use the multi-port device from SanDisk. 

Jamie,

I have been using a 12-card Lexar Professional Workflow system for several years to process images from 24 trail cameras.  The system has 4 bays, with 3 card readers per bay.  I wrote software to automatically download and rename the images using metadata read from the info banner burned into the images by the camera.  (Alternatively, the software can use the Exif metadata attached to the image.)  The software is described in a recent Wildlife Society Bulletin: 

The software is available on github:  

Don't be put off by "time-lapse recordings" - it works on still images also.

Regards,

Mike Hilton

Have a look at @tessa_rhinehart 's TechTutors on scaling up acoustic surveys. This is addressed at 11 min: 

The "hexadecapus" is the hardware, but transfer is automated by naming the SDCards prior to use and scripts take care of the transfer. The scripts may be written up in the audiomoth guide but the kitzes lab have this on github (although it may be mac specific) 

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discussion

Most interesting images / sightings 'caught on camera'

A thread for people to upload the most interesting or unusual sightings recorded by their traps. To get the ball rolling here's a coy looking crow..

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No - the trap was in their path and they just walked through it. I've now moved it to a place they can't go. The biggest threat to the moths is from pied currawongs. I schedule the trap so it shuts off at least two before sunrise to try to avoid them feasting on the larger insects.

At first I was finding wings below the screen in the morning when I put our units out. So I put a game camera on the units to see what was feeding and when. I found three bird species, likely 3 individuals, quickly found it to be a good bird feeder- Song Sparrow (most frequent), House Wren, and this Tufted Titmouse. I changed my units to turn off about 1.5 hours before dawn and that worked! Nearly all the moths left the scene before the birds came to visit. 

My most prized camera trap image - a hummingbird caught on camera!

Image

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discussion

Camera trapping in the tropics

Hi everyone! New camera trapper over here! I have some questions specific to camera trapping medium-large mammals in the tropics, especially rural areas of Central America (...

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Maybe a couple useful refs.

- we did find smaller detection areas in the wet season here

- guidelines for sample design here.

I've never had a problem with monkeys wrecking cameras, hyenas, elephants, bears yes.

cheers

Roland

Hi @laydent ,

I am just an occasional and non-professional user of a camera trap in Costa Rica. I have not experienced destruction of the camera trap by animals, so far. The trap never caught a monkey, but it did catch raccoons, an ocelot, pizotes and olingos. They all left the camera trap alone.

Rain would impact animal behavior obviously and possibly result in false positive triggering of the camera due to moving leaves and/or the rain itself. On the latter, one might try different sensitivity settings to see how your particular camera responds.

Camera traps are supposedly water tight ( and mine has been ), but in the long run seals may erode ( direct exposure to the sun may speed that up ). Also, I am wondering if water tight means rain-water tight, leaving the possibility of air humidity coming into the trap and cause corrosion.

Sorry, but I can not recommend anything to your third point.

I would agree that primates probably aren't your biggest concern, animal-destroyer wise. At least in the Malagasy rainforests, lemurs are highly arboreal so if you have trail cams down low, the lemurs won't come down that far. Neotropical primates are probably similar in that respect (at least compared to African/Asian primates such as baboons & macaques which are more terrestrial). The bigger issue than animals messing up cameras has been people stealing or interfering with them, so trying to put hem off-trail/hidden, locked onto large trees has been important. 

I second the Kays et al paper that @Rolandisimo mentioned above as a great reference & starting point! There is also this paper on camera trap study design, this one on camera trap placement bias and this one on strategic camera trap placement for evaluating different metrics. 

In terms of wet vs dry season, you'll want to make sure that water doesn't accumulate where you're putting up the cameras such that they would potentially become submerged in a flash flood or river-rising/overflowing situation, but you probably already know that :).  

There have been many papers that have looked at the effect of seasonality with camera trap data, but the majority of them are with regard to the actual species activity pattern differences across seasons rather than the effect of season on detection distance. You should consider what your species of interest's activity patterns are in different seasons and how this may impact detection probability. It may also be important in terms of strategically planning your sampling scheme. For example, the mouse & dwarf lemurs in Madagascar hibernate during the cold/dry season so it's not useful to sample for them during those months.   

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discussion

ISO Alternatives Wanted: Reconyx HF2X HyperFire 2

Hi everyone, do you know of any cameras that are similar to the Reconyx HF2X HyperFire 2, but that might be a bit less expensive? https://www.reconyx.com/product/hyperfire-2-...

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Yes, contact me, please!

Hello!

I am Daniele and I work with camera trapping research in the Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development (Amazonas state, Brazil).
We have used with Reconyx HyperFire since the beggining of our monitoring, but now we have a budget to buy new cameras and we are considering to purchase another models. I was looking for some information and saw your answer to this post. Could you please tell me that information on any "cameras that are similar to the Reconyx HyperFire, but that might be a bit less expensive"?
We are considering the Browning Patriot model.

Thank you,

Daniele
 

 

There is this other WILDLABS discussion thread where tons of people provided input on their experiences with lots of different brands & models which may help. 

You might also want to check out the Conservation Tech Directory and search 'camera trap' for a list of suppliers/companies & the price range of their products. 

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discussion

Avian nest box monitoring 

Hi. I’m hoping there’s a guru out there who can advise on tech for monitoring conditions inside avian nest boxes? Links to data loggers and endoscopes they’ve used successfully...

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Maybe this is a starting point. Any idea if this product would work inside the box. Kestrel DROP D3 Wireless Temperature, Humidity & Pressure Data Logger https://amzn.eu/d/5VdQwtA  

I'd be interested in any camera monitoring setups that can be used inside a nest box. Most camera traps are too bulky for this purpose. All the devices I've looked at either need a wired connection or a wifi network to transmit images. I want one that can store all info to an SD card and preferably be solar powered. Obviously infrared or starlight sensitivity. Sound recording would be a bonus for some bird monitoring I want to do.

Done lots of this over the years and it depends on the species really. If you want incubation behaviour  and hence success or otherwise using temperature then the Thermocron IButton DS1921G is perfect. The new Blue Maestro is an option I became aware of this year but I haven't tested at scale.

In terms of cameras and endoscopes I've tailored many off the shelf products and built a few from scratch. When I get chance I'll have a look around and see what is still available.

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event

CamTrap Ecology meets AI conference

The first international workshop on camera traps & AI analysis for wildlife monitoring, including associated ecological & data collection methods. It runs as three live online sessions of expert talks, tutorials...

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discussion

BoomBox camera trap models?

As discussed in this other thread, I've been planning to mod some camera traps,...

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Thank you Akiba/@Freaklabs!! Super informative. I didn't know much of the hardware inside different models are actually the same, but probably not a surprise.

OK, I'll have a look at what cameras I can obtain, and contact you through the email on the Boombox website. Thanks again!!

Quick update: I've been continuing investigating this, and will probably get the current "Browning Strike Force HD Pro X" (the names are so confusing!). Hopefully, as @Freaklabs suggested it will be very similar to other Browning camera traps such as the one used with the Boombox.

I'll share pics once we manage to get our hands on one and open them!

Hi Pen-Yuan. 

I need to revise what I said before. Browning devices within a specific model number have similar PCBs, ie: we worked with the BTC-8A for the Spec Ops Advantage. They're currently on the BTC-8E which we've found to have a different PCB. So I think the rule we're using on Browning at the moment (and most vendors) are that the model number needs to match, else it's likely the PCB is different. This also happened to us with Bushnell Trophycams. We're running into this issue now with a Boombox customer planning a Browning deployment. We're currently getting the camera trap in so we can reverse engineer the newer model and interface it to Boombox. 

Akiba

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