Ongava Research Centre Blog...

2016- Week 43
- (Added 9. Oct. 2016 - 11:00)

So, to last week's stolen camera... Very fortunately, I found the camera about 50m from the trap array – face down in the dust, but still working! (Well done, Mr. Bushnell). So we were able to review the images taken during the incident…


Here goes the lid…

Now the obligatory selfie!

And one of my friend – rather cheekily sitting on the trap array pole…

2016- Week 42
- (Added 2. Oct. 2016 - 11:00)

The perils of camera trapping! I arrived at this remote trap array to find that the left hand trap had completely disappeared. The lids of the security boxes are secured with twisted wire, and can be quite difficult to remove… The culprits will be revealed next week!

2016- Weeks 40 & 41
- (Added 25. Sep. 2016 - 11:00)

A frustrating few weeks of very little internet connectivity! I spoke a few weeks ago about using mark-recapture statistics for carnivores, and how one needs to be able to identify marks. Here’s an excellent example of an image of a black-backed jackal. That coat pattern with white / black vertical stripe is unique to this individual, and hence we can track movements across the reserve. Now we need them all to stand still in front of our camera traps and be photographed in this excellent low light!

2016- Week 39
- (Added 11. Sep. 2016 - 08:53)

A few weeks ago (W33) we showed you pictures of African Hawk-Eagles Aquila fasciatus, comparing immature and adult plumage. In most eagles, the immature birds have some form of intermediate colouring. In the case of Verraux’s Eagle Aquila verreauxii, the juveniles have a mottled pattern – as seen on this very nice camera trap picture of a sub-adult taking off after taking a drink. Note the Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax in the background. 

2016- Week 38
- (Added 4. Sep. 2016 - 11:00)

We use our camera traps a lot for ID work. Using mark-recapture statistics we can then get estimates of populations size / density / use of habitat / etc. However, in order to do that, the species in question must have identifying features, such as stripes or spots. For some felids it is possible to use whisker spot patterns, but for smaller felids with no coat pattern, like the caracal shown below, our nocturnal images are just not detailed enough. Here we have to hope that at least some of them will have marks on their coats (note the faint white stripe on the back of the caracal in the picture) so that we can assign an ID.

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