Remote imagery of DNA-based sampling

Background

Remote cameras are used world-wide to address a variety of research and management objectives for wildlife species that are often difficult to find track, and capture. They are an effective tool for investigating wildlife behavior, as well as documenting species presence. They have been used to improve wildlife live-trapping methods and to document use of highway crossing structures. Remote camera systems are relatively affordable, easily implemented, and have little impact on study animals. Improvements in camera technology, sampling design, and analytical methods continue to broaden the range of applications.

A remote sensing camera system consists of an infrared motion detector and a still or video camera. Sensors can be either passive (similar to household motion;detecting lights) or active, where a beam must be broken, for example, by an animal traveling down a trail.

Equipment

Photography: Film and Digital Cameras paired with a sensor
Video: Standard- and high-definition cameras paired with a sensor

We cannot list specific brands or models on this website.

Methods

We deployed a variety of remote camera systems at 20 sites in northwestern Montana 1998-2007. We tested film and digital still cameras, as well as standard- and high-definition video cameras. Due to light demands, video cameras were usually set to run only during daylight hours. Still cameras, both digital and still, were capable of taking quality images under most conditions without additional lighting. These systems were allowed to run continuously.

More information about the camera systems will be posted in the coming months.

For more information on hair trap and bear rub sampling methods follow the links at the bottom of this page to the Greater Glacier Bear DNA Project or the Northern Divide Grizzly Bear Project.

Results

From 2005 through 2007, we logged over 1,000 camera nights at 16 sites in Glacier National Park and the Flathead National Forest and photographed dozens of grizzly bears and black bears. We recorded all age-sex classes approaching and entering hair traps, including females with young. We documented only one instance of a bear failing to cross the wire. In this instance, the cameras were set to run during daylight hours, so we cannot rule out the possibility that this bear returned during the night and entered the hair trap. All bears that crossed (either under or over) the wire left at least one hair sample. This includes bears that stepped on the wire when they crossed. We also documented with remote cameras and genetic sampling, that bears of all sizes, including cubs of the year, leave hair on the barbed wire at hair traps and rub trees.

VIDEO (click on thumbnails for more information)

Wildlife recorded by remote cameras at bear hair traps (view all) :

BEARS

black bear in a bear hair trap large grizzly bear in a bear hair trap grizzly bear in a bear hair trap grizzly bear with cub in a bear hair trap

OTHER WILDLIFE

wolverine in a bear hair trap deer with fawn in a bear hair trap fox in a bear hair trap

Wildlife recorded by remote cameras at bear rub trees (view all) :

BEARS

black bear smelling a bear rub tree black bear rubbing on a bear rub tree grizzly bear rubbing on a bear rub tree grizzly bear rubbing on a log grizzly bear rubbing on a bear rub tree black bear looking at the camera grizzly bear rubbing on bear rub trees black bear cub rubbing on a bear rub tree grizzly bear rubbing on a bear rub tree grizzly bear rubbing on a wooden bridge and a rub tree female grizzly bear with two cubs rubbing on a wooden bridge and a rub tree

OTHER WILDLIFE

pine marten on a tree wolves walking past a bear rub tree elk walking past a bear rub tree

Other miscellaneous video of wildlife recorded by remote cameras (view all)

grizzly bear up close at remote camera wolf-bear interaction

We will update this page with more video periodically.

Downloading Video Clips: If you download video please fill in our Remote Photograph and Video Form (pdf) (one form for all the clips you download)

STILL PHOTOGRAPHY (click on thumbnails for more information)

Bears recorded by remote cameras at bear hair traps (view all):

grizzly bear in a bear hair trap grizzly bear next to a bear hair trap grizzly bear rubbing in bear hair trap lure pile grizzly bear rolling in a bear hair trap lure pile grizzly bear shaking rain off in a bear hair trap black bear pawing at a bear hair trap lure pile

Bears recorded by remote cameras at bear rub trees (view all):

grizzly bear rubbing on a bear rub tree black bear rubbing on a bear rub tree

Wildlife recorded by remote cameras on trails (view all):

grizzly bear walking down a trail cougar walking down a trail

We will update this page with more photographs periodically.

Downloading Photographs: If you download photographs please fill in our Remote Photograph and Video Form (pdf) (one form for all the photographs you download)

PUBLICATIONS

  • Remote Camera Footage used in
    • Northern Divide Grizzly Bear Project presentations
    • Greater Glacier Bear DNA Project presentations
    • RGB Pictures. Barely Enough (documentary film on the Northern Divide Grizzly Bear Project). (in production)
    • R. Long, P. MacKay, J. Ray, and W. Zielinski, editors. 2008. Noninvasive survey methods for North American Carnivores. Island Press. Washington, DC.
  • Stetz, J. B., A. C. Macleod, D. Reich, H. Reich, and D. Carney. 11/15/2007. Using Remote Cameras To Inform Two Types of Trapping (Scientific Poster). 18th International Conference on Bear Research and Management, Monterrey, Mexico. (Scientific Poster Presentation)

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

  • The Glacier National Park Fund for providing financial support
  • Derek Reich (Zooprax Productions)
  • Bryan Miller (RGB Productions)
  • Tim Manley and Rick Mace (MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks)
  • Bill Goodson (Trailmaster; Goodson & Associates, Inc)
  • Volunteers who helped out put out and check cameras
    • Stan Stetz, Wayne Simoneau, Eric Penn, Erik Peterson, Justin Smith, Jesse Troxler

RELATED PROJECTS

Greater Glacier Bear DNA Project (1997-2007): Follow link for more information on this project

Northern Divide Grizzly Bear Project (2003-2008): The Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) in northwest Montana is one of the last strongholds of the grizzly bear in the lower 48 states. Follow link for more information on this project

RELATED MATERIALS

Grizzly Bear Project Information Sheet (pdf format): A study to estimate the grizzly bear population size in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem

Grizzly Bear Project Podcast: podcast is an excerpt from a short film Glacier Park made entitled "Glacier Is" that was presented to the Parks, Peace and Partnerships Symposium in fall 2007 as part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park 75th anniversary celebration. Available in Podcast or MP4 (12.7MB) format on the Glacier National Park Science and Research Podcast Page.

KEYWORDS

remote camera, video, photography, grizzly bear, black bear, DNA finger printing, mark-recapture, wildlife, population, landscape scale, non-invasive sampling, conservation genetics, hair, Ursus arctos, Ursus americanus, hair snag, signsurvey, genetics, Glacier National Park, Flathead National Forest, Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, U.S. Geological Survey, USGS

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION

Rocky Mountains and surrounding lands including Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness, Northwest Montana, United States