Post de Experiment (5): Camera trapping!

Este post apreció originalmente en el sitio de crowdfunding Experiment, November 8, 2013.

I wanted to continue describing how we chose our research site. We liked the private reserve Altos de Cantillana because both the owner, Joaquín Solo de Zaldivar, and the administrator, Fernanda Romero, were enthusiastic about having guanacos. We decided to test the suitability of a site at the entrance to the reserve, where the guanacos could be seen by everyone entering and passing by.
To do this, we had to put in camera traps. In early September I went with two students, Andres Gonzalez and Lina Forero from Fauna Australis, to install three camera traps at the site.  Camera traps aren’t actually traps, but snap photos of whatever passes in front of them.

We put in bait to attract predators. Guanacos will also attract predators, so we wanted to see what would show up. 
These are some of the animals that were photographed by the camera traps over a 3 week period:

A horse! You can see the tripod with the bait in the middle of the picture. 

This is one of the culpeo foxes that I mentioned in the post on biodiversity in central Chile.

We also saw lots of dogs. (There were 11 dog images captured by the camera traps.) This underscores why we need a fence to keep out feral dogs. After talking to Fernanda Romero, we think that the dogs in these images belong to the neighbors, and hopefully they will not be a big problem. Ideally the neighbors could be convinced to keep their dogs on leads or inside fences. We decided that the level of risk from feral dogs was not too high, so we went ahead with plans to use this site.
Images copyright Fauna Australis.

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