An Introduction to Camera Trapping for Wildlife Surveys in Australia

Internationally, camera trapping is rapidly being adopted for diverse monitoring purposes, from wildlife research and management to asset protection. There are, however, myriad cameras of multiple brands with various models, which have different functionality and are fit for different purposes). It is difficult for any user to fully comprehend which camera trap to select and how to use it best. Despite an array of publications about camera trapping, most users learn from ‘doing’.

Through widespread informal consultation with private citizens, public land managers and research groups, the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (IA CRC) and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (Vertebrate Pest Research Unit) identified a need for a document that brought together a range of information on wildlife camera trapping to encourage some consistency in the collective approach to camera trapping in Australia. Based on our collective experiences with camera trapping, this document aims to provide users with ‘one-stop-shop’ information on most aspects of camera trapping for wildlife monitoring and research purposes, such as suggestions on selecting a fit-for-purpose camera, designing camera trapping surveys and means of managing and analysing camera trap data. We proposed some standards and included information on the history of camera trap use to provide context. We also explained common terms and described how camera traps actually work.

In preparing this document, however, it became increasingly apparent that it would likely take many years to provide robust recommendations on specific details of the methodologies for some surveys. Some of the information in this guide may be quickly superseded as technology and our understanding of ecology continue to advance, and it is important to acknowledge that we do not have all the answers. Consequently, we propose to maintain this as a living-document, to be updated as our collective knowledge of camera trapping advances. For similar reasons, readers will note that we have tried to avoid recommending particular brands or models of camera traps throughout the document, as they are likely to be superseded over time.

Importantly, in developing this document we surveyed camera trap users to compose a standard datasheet and database for site recording. The resulting documents (Microsoft Word datasheet and Access database) can be downloaded from for offline use on your own computer.

Author Paul Meek, Guy Ballard and Peter Fleming
Year 2012
Publisher Invasive Animals CRC
Pages 95 pp
ISBN/ISSN Web ISBN: 978-1-921777-57-8
Region Australia - national

An introduction to camera trapping for wildlife surveys in Australia [2.3 Mb PDF]