Optical Awareness

For years, WWF scientists and field staff have deployed an array of camera traps to gather critical data about wildlife from research areas worldwide. Go behind the scenes to see how these tools work.

Display demonstrating how a camera trap works

Shutter SpeedBlue dots radiating from the camera lens

Camera traps are highly programmable, and can be set to take a single image, multiple images in rapid succession or video. They can even be programmed to snap photos only in the daylight or only at night.

Strategic PlacementClose up of a tree

WWF attaches camera traps to trees or other objects at heights and locations most likely to capture images of the species we hope to find. And the cameras don’t go wholly unnoticed; animals sometimes examine, sniff or even try to destroy them.

Double "vision"red lines emanating from the camera's sensor

A sensor on the front of some cameras detects both heat and movement. When the sensor perceives the two factors simultaneously, it directs the camera to snap a photograph. Because camera activation requires heat as well as movement, the chances of capturing images of animals, rather than rain or a blowing branch, increase.

Path most traveledred lines emanating from the camera's sensor

Camera traps are often placed along relatively busy forest tracks, or near food sources or watering holes. This gives them the best chance of determining the variety, population or range of the area’s wildlife.

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