In mid-June, Idea Wild again supported our project with a second equipment grant. We are very excited to try the Bushnell camera traps, and compare them with our existing Cuddebacks! We would like to develop a method for aging elephants from camera trap photos to help in our study of Udzungwa elephant demography (thus far, mainly dung bolus diameter based). Wild ideas welcome!
Meanwhile, TEAM has been camera-trapping throughout Mwanihana forest block, and we hope to use TEAM data to both establish some elephant IDs and to derive accumulation rates from photos for an index of elephant population size which we can compare to our dung counts. Although the WCS-Sumatra team did not find a strong relationship between photo accumulation rate and elephant density estimated with dung counts, we feel that the camera trap method warrants further testing in more sites.
Click here to see one of our camera trap videos: elephant charges camera trap.