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Camera Traps

Overview

In landscapes around the world WWF scientists and field staff are using cameras equipped with infrared triggers, called camera traps, to obtain critical data about wildlife and their habitats. Now you can access the same pictures used by our scientists to study wildlife and their habitats and make important decisions about conservation.

Success Seen for Tigers in Transboundary Landscape

Tiger conservation efforts are paying off at the landscape level, even where national borders are present across tiger habitats. This good news comes from a report shared by the governments of India and Nepal together with WWF.

camera trap image of tiger in Terai Arc landscape

What WWF Is Doing

Puma

A photo of a wild puma taken by a camera trap in the Amazon.

While a "camera trap" might sound menacing, it actually does no harm at all to wildlife. The name is derived from the manner in which it "captures" wildlife - on film!

Camera traps are not the intricate and elaborate devices you might imagine; these innovative conservation tools are in fact nothing more than everyday cameras, armed with infrared sensors that take a picture whenever they sense movement in the forest.

While the device itself is not complicated, getting the film developed is. Because the cameras are placed in such remote locations, it often takes a full day to hike to each. Cameras also must be moved occasionally because their flashes often alert animals to their presence, causing those animals to avoid the area in the future.

Due to the moist, hot climate of many of the forest locations WWF is working, the cameras often malfunction, so scientists will be lucky if two-thirds of the pictures are of any animals at all. Scientists can get that rate of return in a dense forest only because they do significant research before placing the cameras in order to determine the most efficient and productive locations. Although infrared sensors allow camera traps to take pictures on their own, WWF scientists and field staff can claim full credit for the amazing images produced by camera traps.

Read commonly asked questions about WWF's camera traps.

Projects

  • Monitoring Tigers in Nepal

    A July 2012 camera trap study in Nepal identified 37 individual tigers—a marked increase from 18 tigers counted in 2009. The tigers were monitored over a three-month period inside Bardia National Park in Nepal and the Khata wildlife corridor in the Terai Arc Landscape.

  • Photos from Camera Traps in Indonesia

    On the Indonesian island of Sumatra, WWF collaborates with the Riau Forestry Department to use camera traps to help determine which species are present and absent from the region.

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