Trail camera's prove their worth for the Penguin Project and trapping efforts
This is some of the behaviour that makes Ferrits and Stoats so difficult to trap - they are clever, wary and vicious.
Trappers use camera's to understand behaviour
One of the vital tools in our trapping teams arsenal is trail camera's, we have 3 trail camera's that are regularly deployed to monitor traps, penguin and grey petral burrows, and tracks.
These camera's are invaluable on a number of levels and our trappers regularly deploy our camera traps to measure pest load, monitor pest behaviour and monitor our wildlife.
While camera traps are not a panacea, they are are an increasingly important part of our trapping efforts and recent research and work by others is taking this tool to the next level.
Trail camera's allow our trapping crew to understand pest load at certain sites, like the Penguin Projects sites in the Southern Bays. While not a super accurate way of measuring pest load, it does provide an indication and when used with other methods such as footprinting and chew cards is a good indicator.
In very sensitive areas, the presense of certain pests, such as a stray cat, may signal to the trappers that they need to deploy additional types of traps that they may not already have.
Little Blue Penguin in Southern Bay nesting boxes.
Possums are regular visitors to bait stations and traps.
Rabbits - not dangerous to penguins but they do damage the environment when in large numbers.
Introduced pests are tricky little blighters and their behavior around traps and in general differs from location to location and predator to predator. Trap camera's provide valuable insight into how a predator acts around a trap and how our trappers might better position or handle traps to ensure maximum capture.
Limitations of Cameras
Research from the Cacophony Project (https://cacophony.org.nz/howoftenpredatorsinteractwithtraps) suggests that traditional camera traps pick up very few predators but they do serve a purpose for the team.
Recent advancments and research
The Cacophony project has done some amazing research and provides Thermal camera's and AI software to detect and identify pests, these have a much better hit rate and recently their camera's have detected predator proof fence incursions in Shakespear Regional Park north of Auckland - https://cacophony.org.nz/our-camera-finds-invading-stoat-within-two-nights - these camera's and the software currently quite expensive so we would require donations and funding to purchase these.
Ship rats are devastating for weta and lizards.
Grey Faced Petrel