Comparing motion capture cameras versus human observer monitoring of mammal movement through fence gaps: a case study from Kenya
MacDonald, Suzanne E.
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Monitoring the movement and distribution of wildlife is a critical tool of an adaptive management framework for wildlife conservation. We installed motion‐triggered cameras to capture the movement of mammals through two purpose‐built migration gaps in an otherwise fenced conservancy in northern Kenya. We compared the results to data gathered over the same time period (1 Jan 2011–31 Dec 2012) by the human observers monitoring mammal tracks left at the same fence gaps in a sandy loam detection strip. The camera traps detected more crossing events, more species and more individuals of each species per crossing event than did the human track observers. We tested for volume detection differences between methods for the five most common species crossing each gap and found that all detection rates were heavily weighted towards the camera‐trap method. We review some of the discrepancies between the methods and conclude that although the camera traps record more data, the management of that data can be time‐consuming and ill‐suited to some time‐sensitive decision‐making. We also discuss the importance of daily track monitoring for adaptive management conservation and community security.