Limitations of recreational camera traps for wildlife management and conservation research: A practitioner's perspective

Scott Newey, Paul Davidson, Sajid Nazir, Gorry Fairhurst, Fabio Verdicchio, R Justin Irvine, René van der Wal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


The availability of affordable 'recreational' camera traps has dramatically increased over the last decade. We present survey results which show that many conservation practitioners use cheaper 'recreational' units for research rather than more expensive 'professional' equipment. We present our perspective of using two popular models of 'recreational' camera trap for ecological field-based studies. The models used (for >2 years) presented us with a range of practical problems at all stages of their use including deployment, operation, and data management, which collectively crippled data collection and limited opportunities for quantification of key issues arising. Our experiences demonstrate that prospective users need to have a sufficient understanding of the limitations camera trap technology poses, dimensions we communicate here. While the merits of different camera traps will be study specific, the performance of more expensive 'professional' models may prove more cost-effective in the long-term when using camera traps for research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)624-635
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Early online date27 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015



  • camera trap
  • digital innovation
  • false negative
  • false positive
  • sensors
  • trail camera

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