Camera Traps


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.

An Eye on Recovery

WWF is helping to support Australia’s first large-scale collaborative camera trap project.

Two men crouching down on the ground to set up netting and a camera to capture images of wildlife passing by

What WWF Is Doing


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.


  • Camera Trap Video of a Rhino

    WWF captured the first-ever camera trap video of a rhino in Borneo. While a "camera trap" might sound menacing, it actually does not harm wildlife. The name is derived from the manner in which it "captures" wildlife on film.

  • 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.

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