Camera trapping mammals in the scrubland?s of the Cape Floristic Kingdom?the importance of effort, spacing and trap placement

23 Nov 2020

As a non-invasive monitoring method camera traps are noted as being an effective, accurate and rapid means of compiling species richness estimates of medium to large terrestrial mammals. However, crucial elements of camera trap survey design are rarely empirically addressed, which has raised the need for both a standardised and optimised camera trapping protocol. Our study confirms that an appropriate camera placement buffer and targeting areas of animal activity, contributes to more complete species richness estimates as well as significantly reducing the rate of false trigger events. However, attaining the required survey effort in terms of camera days was the most important factor in providing accurate species richness estimates. Our results suggest that reliable estimates of species richness can be achieved in open scrubland when cameras are spaced 1 9 1 km apart and left in the targeted area until a survey effort of a 1000 camera days is realised.