How is WildCAM different from other camera trap networks?
WildCAM is western-Canada focused. The network seeks to inform wildlife management strategies for mammals at the landscape- scale through coordinated research effort across BC and Alberta. Our members include academic researchers, government biologists and managers (from federal, provincial, and municipal agencies), First Nations biologists, and researchers from non-governmental organizations. By focusing on western Canada, WildCAM can complement other camera trap networks and initiatives across North America.
What type of camera should I use?
We have provided some information about camera model selection here. There are a number of camera models to choose from which vary in cost, durability, settings, etc. Most studies recommend using Reconyx cameras. We suggest checking out Trail Cam Pro, where you can compare costs and settings associated with various camera models.
What do I need to know about setting up my camera?
WildCAM has developed a guide outlining some of the most important things to consider when setting up your camera trap. You can check it out here. We have also produced some datasheets you can use when setting up and retrieving/checking camera traps. There are some additional resources listed here that can guide your camera trapping efforts.
How should I organize my camera trap data?
Managing camera trap data can be a challenge but it is very important to make an effort to ensure that metadata is recorded in a standardized manner, making it more likely that your data can be used in future collaborations. Dr. Chris Beirne (UBC Postdoc) led a webinar in Oct 2020 where he shared tips and tricks for managing camera trap data. The recording is available here- we highly recommend checking it out!
I am a citizen scientist. Can I still join WildCAM?
Yes! Any individual using camera traps is encouraged to join, regardless of whether you have 2 or 200 cameras. Citizen scientists are an important part of wildlife monitoring efforts, especially in areas not currently part of established research projects. These efforts are extremely useful in helping scientists better understand where different species are located across the province and how animal occurrences can vary across habitat type, elevation, or proximity to various types of human land use (e.g. logged forest, agriculture, urban areas, etc). If you are a citizen scientist who uses camera traps, we also encourage you to join our WildCAM iNaturalist page where you can post your photos and interact with fellow citizen scientists to identify species.
Is WildCAM going to post photos of people in camera trap photos on their website or anywhere else?
While camera trap photos contributed by WildCAM members may be posted on our Photo Highlights reel, WildCAM does not make photos of people public, and photos of wildlife will never be shared without consent. If you choose to contribute your data to a given research project, you will share directly with the Project Leads. If you share your raw camera trap photos, we will blur out the identities of people in those photos.
Will WildCAM make my camera trap locations public? How will my data be shared with members?
These data are not public. On our Projects page, general locations of individual project sites are shown on the map of BC and AB. If you are a member who does not wish to have their project site included on the website, please let us know and we will ensure this information is not posted. With respect to individual camera trap locations, this information will never be shared publicly. Members can request data from other members for research purposes but whether or not data are shared is completely up to whoever owns those data.
Do I need a research permit to do camera-trapping?
This is advice and we make no claims to legal validity, so always check the regulations in your area. In British Columbia, camera-trapping does not require a research permit if does not include the use of bait; scent lures are fine to use without a permit. If you bait your traps, you need a research permit from Fish & Wildlife. In Alberta, camera trapping does not require a Research & Collections permit from Fish & Wildlife if you don’t use scent lure or bait. If you use either of these, you will need an R&C permit. In both Provinces, you need to check with your lands office for any regulations about accessing crown lands to camera-trap. National Parks, BC and Alberta Parks require a special permit to camera-trap on their lands, outside of the Fish & Wildlife collections and research permits, and restrictions on bait and lure. Alberta requires you have a separate permit to access and camera-trap on Crown lands. In all cases, unpermitted camera traps may be removed upon discovery, and illegal camera-trappers face charges. Always ensure you know the permitting requirements and mark your cameras with your contact information in the field. It is also critical to acknowlegde the traditional territories of First Nations and which First Nations' land you may be on / working within. We recommend familiarising yourself with this great map for BC. From there we recommend you contact associated local First Nation governments and / or stewardship groups before embarking on any fieldwork.