Wilderness Safaris recently teamed up with the Trans-Kalahari Predator Programme, based out of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) at the University of Oxford, to provide logistical support for the Okavango Delta Carnivore Survey. This survey is part of the Trans-Kalahari Predator Programme’s efforts to provide baseline data on the numbers of large carnivores in the Okavango Delta, and in other protected areas in Botswana. Wilderness assisted in setting up and checking some of the camera grids put out across the wilds of the Okavango.
Running a camera trap survey not only involves setting up cameras and taking them down, but also regular checks to ensure cameras are still functional, the batteries are still full, and importantly, that cameras have not been pushed over by animals! As a novel addition to their environment, many species passing by take their time to investigate the camera traps; while in the case of impala and lions this can lead to some interesting ‘selfies’, for the larger species such as elephant and hippo, this often means pushing the traps over, which can lead to losing a few days of data while the cameras are down.
Just have a look at how curious some of the animals can get:
A hippopotamus passing through one of the camera trap stations, ‘posing’ in the middle to sniff one of the traps
The nose of another impala, giving the camera a good smell!
A young lion gets up close and personal
Can you spot the camera trap amongst this herd of giants? Elephants often push over traps with their feet and bend our poles, which means camera traps need to be checked on a regular basis
A sub-adult male lion moves in for a closer look
A curious warthog
This elephant was not too happy about our camera trap on its path. As many animals use the trails made by elephants through the bush, these are ideal places to put camera trap stations. However, it also means cameras regularly get pushed over.