The movement of animals inside the forest tells the story of the forest itself. The camera trap project is a new way to study and monitor animals through photographs. Population data is collected to study animal communities within the reserve. Since sighting mammals inside the forest is so difficult, “candid” photography has proven to be a very effective method. The use of camera traps makes for accurate estimates of wildlife populations, helping us better understand the ecological movements of individual animals, while proving the existence of a particular species.
To find the right places to set up cameras, we studied animal footprints and trails. On each trail we found sites with high animal activity, and therefore adapted them to set up the camera traps. After understanding how the cameras worked, the cameras were placed on trails that are used by Mashpi Lodge guests.
In each trail we have at least two active cameras running all the time in the same place. These cameras are checked every 15 days, which roughly translates into 500 photographs, which include important information such as date, time, moon phase and temperature at the moment. These variables are good indicators of the most active hours of animal movement on the reserve. The idea behind analyzing this data is to hopefully increase sightings inside trails and understand how animal populations work.