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Camera traps, or remotely triggered cameras, are a valuable tool for primatologists, as they can provide a plethora of insights into primate ecology, without the necessity of having researchers continuously present for observation. Camera traps can provide surprising or new information about a species and can also be used to inform conservation policy when species are threatened with extinction. Camera traps may be particularly useful to primatologists studying rare or elusive species, in instances when habituation is extremely difficult or likely to harm the focal species, and when terrain is extremely difficult for humans to navigate. Primate-specific methodological considerations and transparency are important in study design and for comparative purposes, respectively. In sum, camera traps are important tools in both epistemological and conservation research involving primates.
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Camera Traps
MARNI LAFLEUR
University of California, San Diego, United States
PAULA A. PEBSWORTH
The University of Texas at San Antonio, United
States
Remarkable information has been garnered from
primate studies using camera traps, including: the
rst-ever photographs of a living newly discov-
ered primate species (e.g., Rhinopithecus strykeri
(Chen et al. 2015)), behavioral insights on the rare
Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli), pre-
dation events, night-time activity in “diurnal”
primates (Rhinopithecus brelichi,Lemur catta,
Pan troglodytes verus), and cave use (L. catta,
P. t . v e r u s). Primate observations such as these
would have been unlikely without camera traps
(see Pebsworth and LaFleur 2014 and references
within).
Conservation planning and initiatives can
also be furthered by the use of camera traps.
e world’s largest coordinated camera trap
project, Tropical Ecology Assessment and Mon-
itoring Netwok (TEAM, www.teamnetwork.org),
encourages primatologists to contribute their
data. TEAM studies must adhere to rigorous
protocols and use a minimum of 60 cameras,
which may not be feasible for many primate
studies. Other primate camera trap projects have
used resultant data to inform oil and gas devel-
opers on the eectiveness of natural corridor
maintenance (Gregory et al. 2014), understand
changes in primate behavior in relation to habitat
change (e.g., terrestrial behavior in orangutans
(Pongo pygmaeus morio) (Loken, Spehar, and
Rayadin 2013)), and determine the eects of
anthropogenic disturbance on primates and their
predators according to forest type (Farris et al.
2014). Data such as these are likely to become
increasing important for the future of primate
conservation, particularly when primatologists
need to limit habituation or animal exposure to
human activities.
e International Encyclopedia of Primatology. Edited by Agustín Fuentes.
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Published 2017 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
DOI: 10.1002/9781119179313.wbprim0281
Camera trap study design can be divided into
baited or nonbaited, and random or nonrandom
camera placement. Baited studies provide an
incentive for the target animal to visit the camera
trap station. Bait is oen food, but could also
include auditory or olfactory cues. Use of bait is
oen criticized because it may inuence the ani-
mal’s behavior, but it may also be an appropriate
means of recording those species that are particu-
larly elusive. With a nonrandom design, cameras
are strategically placed to monitor behavior
occurring at a xed location. Examples of such
behavior include geophagy (Figure 1), water use
(drinking or wading) (Figure 2), movement along
a specic trail, and/or any behavior that takes
place at a specic feature of interest. Nonrandom
placement of cameras facilitates ease of camera
setup and monitoring, and increases the proba-
bility of detecting animals. As such, nonrandom
study designs are ideal for rare, elusive, and
hard-to-detect primates. Alternatively, with ran-
dom study designs, camera placement is decided
apriori, based on geographical coordinates, and
does not take landscape features into account.
Although random camera placement decreases
theprobabilityofcaptureinmostspecies,itcan
ultimately limit sample bias and provide more
accurate estimates of primate abundance.
e probability of detection can vary greatly
with study design (nonrandom/random camera
placement), species characteristics (gregarious/
solitary; terrestrial/arboreal; fast/slow moving)
and even habitat types (pristine/disturbed; sea-
sonal/aseasonal). It is thus important that both
sampling and inherent biases are accounted for,
such that comparisons can be accurately made
both within and between studies. To illustrate,
detection probability is higher in gregarious
species that travel and forage together, compared
to species that are solitary (or semisolitary)
and travel or forage alone. As such, a greater
proportion of photos of a gregarious species
may lead one to erroneously conclude that there
are more individual animals present. Imperfect
detection, such as this, can be accounted for with
occupancy modeling (Gerber et al. 2014) and
complementary techniques such as behavioral
DLC covert.com 3.01.2014 15:03:21
Figure 1 Chacma baboon (Papio cynocephalus ursinus) eating soil at the Wildcli Nature Reserve,
South Africa.
Photo by Paula Pebsworth.
MAK I 2 80°F26°C 05 - 12 - 2015 13: 17 :52
M
Figure 2 Ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) at a drinking site within the Mitoho cave at the Tsimanam-
petsotse National Park, Madagascar.
Photo by Marni LaFleur.
CAMERA TR APS 3
observations, transect counts, and scat analyses
(Pebsworth and LaFleur 2014).
Careful consideration is also needed in the
interpretation of primate camera trap data, such
as the determination of statistically independent
events. Independent events can range from
minutes to days, according to the study design,
purpose, and primate species. For example, pho-
tographs resulting from a tandem camera setup
or multiple photographs per trigger are not inde-
pendent, and thus the data recorded from those
images would only be counted once. For primate-
specic behavioral events, the researcher(s) must
determine what constitutes an event. To illustrate,
agroupofprimatesmayvisitandtriggercamera
trapsatageophagysite.Fromonevisit,there
maybedozensofphotosofmultipleindividuals
over a period of time. However, since the event
is the “primate group” visiting the geophagy site,
all of the resultant photos from the visit would
again only be counted as one event. A rule would
then need to be exercised that states a specic
lag period between one event and subsequent
events. Five minutes, in this example, would not
be sucient, as animals photographed within ve
minutesarelikelypartofthesameprimategroup
and geophagy event. An hour, or three hours, or
even 24 hours may be appropriate delineators of
independent events here, again depending on the
research purpose and primate species.
For comparative purposes, it is imperative that
primatologists use transparent and consistent
camera trap methods. Manuscripts and reports
should include detailed methodology including:
authors’ denitions of camera trap days and
independent events; camera type (make, model);
camera setting details (ash type and intensity,
trigger speed and sensitivity, detection zone);
environmental variables which may inuence
trap rates (ambient temperature, wind); and
incidences of malfunction. ese are likely to
yieldthemostaccurateandreadilycomparable
data, which will in turn further the knowledge
gained and potential conservation impact of
camera traps in primatology.
SEE ALSO: Development and Primate
Conservation; Habitat Fragmentation;
Non-Invasive Techniques: Vocalizations;
Observational Methods
REFERENCES
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Gerber,BrianD.,PerryJ.Williams,andLarissa
L. Bailey. 2014. “Primates and Cameras: Non-
invasive Sampling to Make Population-Level Infer-
ences While Accounting for Imperfect Detection.”
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Deichmann, Joseph Kolowski, and Alfonso Alonso.
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(Pongo pygmaeus morio) and Implications for their
Ecology and Conservation.” American Journal of Pri-
matology, 75: 1129–1138. DOI:10.1002/ajp.22174.
Pebsworth, Paula A., and Marni LaFleur. 2014.
Advancing Primate Research and Conservation
rough the Use of Camera Traps: Introduction to
the Special Issue.” International Journal of Primatol-
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Aside from anecdotal evidence, terrestriality in orangutans (Pongo spp.) has not been quantified or subject to careful study and important questions remain about the extent and contexts of terrestrial behavior. Understanding the factors that influence orangutan terrestriality also has significant implications for their conservation. Here we report on a camera trapping study of terrestrial behavior in the northeastern Bornean orangutan, Pongo pygmaeus morio, in Wehea Forest, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. We used 78 non-baited camera traps set in 43 stations along roads, trails, and at mineral licks (sepans) to document the frequency of orangutan terrestriality. Habitat assessments were used to determine how terrestrial behavior was influenced by canopy connectivity. We compared camera trapping results for P. p. morio to those for a known terrestrial primate (Macaca nemestrina), and another largely arboreal species (Presbytis rubicunda) to assess the relative frequency of terrestrial behavior by P. p. morio. A combined sampling effort of 14,446 trap days resulted in photographs of at least 15 individual orangutans, with females being the most frequently recorded age sex class (N = 32) followed by flanged males (N = 26 records). P. p. morio represented the second most recorded primate (N = 110 total records) of seven primate species recorded. Capture scores for M. nemestrina (0.270) and P. p. morio (0.237) were similar and almost seven times higher than for the next most recorded primate, P. rubicunda (0.035). In addition, our results indicate that for orangutans, there was no clear relationship between canopy connectivity and terrestriality. Overall, our data suggest that terrestriality is relatively common for the orangutans in Wehea Forest and represents a regular strategy employed by individuals of all age-sex classes. As Borneo and Sumatra increasingly become characterized by mixed-use habitats, understanding the ecological requirements and resilience in orangutans is necessary for designing optimal conservation strategies. Am. J. Primatol. 9999:1-10, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Primates and Cameras: Noninvasive Sampling to Make Population-Level Inferences While Accounting for Imperfect Detection
  • Brian D Gerber
  • J Perry
  • Larissa L Williams
  • Bailey
Gerber, Brian D., Perry J. Williams, and Larissa L. Bailey. 2014. "Primates and Cameras: Noninvasive Sampling to Make Population-Level Inferences While Accounting for Imperfect Detection." International Journal of Primatology, 35: 841-858. DOI:10.1007/s10764-014-9802-4.
Terrestriality in the Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus morio) and Implications for their Ecology and ConservationAdvancing Primate Research and Conservation Through the Use of Camera Traps: Introduction to the Special Issue
  • Brent Loken
  • Stephanie Spehar
  • Yaya Rayadin Paula
  • Marni Lafleur
Loken, Brent, Stephanie Spehar, and Yaya Rayadin. 2013. "Terrestriality in the Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus morio) and Implications for their Ecology and Conservation." American Journal of Primatology, 75: 1129-1138. DOI:10.1002/ajp.22174. Pebsworth, Paula A., and Marni LaFleur. 2014. "Advancing Primate Research and Conservation Through the Use of Camera Traps: Introduction to the Special Issue." International Journal of Primatology, 35: 825-840. DOI:10.1007/s10764-014-9802-4.