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New Traps In Potone Sacred Forest

March 26, 2013
New P&S camera trap installed in Potone Forest

New P&S camera trap installed in Potone Forest

And no, we are not talking about the hunting kind.

The P&S program has recently installed two camera traps as one of several ways to scientifically survey and monitor wildlife on film in Potone Sacred Forest located within the P&S Reserve.

The advantage of camera trapping is that we can record important data without actually capturing animals. Each camera trap is equipped with an infrared sensor that triggers the camera when movement or heat from an animal is detected. The traps capture activity 24 hours a day continuously and silently. Versatile in design and camouflaged, they can be placed up in trees and in other locations to blend in with the natural habitat hidden from view.

As part of a training exercise before designing a scientifically rigorous survey methodology, the P&S team set up both traps at the end of February and retrieved images at two-week intervals. Traps were then re-located. The following pictures are a sampling of images captured over a four-week period from four different locations. Despite dates recorded (the dates in the cameras still need to be correctly set), images were taken in late February through March 2013.

A grey duiker, locally known as cabrito do mato (bush goat).

A grey duiker, locally known as cabrito do mato (bush goat).

A vervet monkey.

A vervet monkey.

These images enable us to better understand the traffic that moves through the forest, be it wild animal or human. As P&S Program Manager John Guernier put it,

“Although the camera traps were initially procured to assist in the scientific surveying of wildlife, one of the unforeseen and exciting outcomes has been the capture of images of local people using the forest, such as the seasonal fishermen seen in the photographs below.”

A fisherman passing through Potone Forest.

Fishermen passing through Potone Forest.

Fishermen passing through Potone Forest.

By involving the communities living in and around PotoneForest, and later in other areas of the Primeiras e Segundas Area of Environmental Protection, we can identify species, monitor behaviors, and track trends in activity and perhaps even populations, over time. In meetings with established community Natural Resource Management Committees (CGRNs), images will aid in the identification of resources and how they are being used. This identification and participatory analysis is an important next step in moving forward with the development of a co-management plan.

The hope is that information can be gathered which will inform community decisions regarding sustainable resource use and conservation. By knowing what and who is out there using the resources, communities can then decide what management systems and strategies they will employ. Once a co-management regime is established, images from camera traps will assist in its monitoring and implementation. But this is some ways down the road.

For now, our task remains to aid communities who depend upon Potone’s resources in  grasping the overall picture and status of its wildlife-one image at a time.

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