NEW PAPER: Sooner, Closer or Longer- camera trap detections of mesocarnivores by using scent lures

Although camera trapping continues to increase in popularity as a non-invasive tool to monitor wildlife, there is still a need for investigators to find methods to maximize detection probability.  A new paper published in the Journal of Zoology by Tourani et al. focuses on boosting detectability, by using scent lures to manipulate the species (1) time of first detection, (2) proximity to the point of interest, and (3) duration of exposure to camera (the three components of detectability).

Tourani et al. (2020) determine that to maximize detection probability one must:

  • decrease the amount of time before the species’ first detection, linked to the tendency and frequency of a species to visit the area
  • increase the proximity of a species to the point of interest as this can increase the chances of animals triggering the camera
  • increase the duration of a species’ exposure to the camera to increase the chances of more visual detections of the individual

Their study demonstrated that scent lures can be utilized to manipulate detection probabilities. For example, they found that the use of castoreum scent lure decreased the time before the first detection of domestic cats. However, they also found that different scent lures affected species in different ways, as martens (Martes martes) and European badgers (Meles meles) responded differently to the use of gland-based lures. The authors conclude that it is possible to use scent lures to maximize species detection probability but that the effects are species-specific. This means there is no one method fits all and each study will require a different lure or method to increase detection.

Click here to check out the paper, and learn more in-depth about increasing detectability!

By Jessica Low