Camera Pilot Project

The ABMI is currently exploring an exciting new way to monitor mammals throughout the province—camera trapping!

Since the ABMI’s inception we have monitored mammals through winter tracking—walking a 10 km long transect near each ABMI site during appropriate snow conditions and identifying any snow tracks we encounter. The logistics of snow tracking are often very challenging—especially if appropriate snow conditions never present themselves in the area we are attempting to monitor.

Camera traps present an appealing alternative that would remove the need for winter monitoring altogether, as cameras could likely be incorporated into ABMI’s summer field season. Camera trapping uses motion-sensor cameras with infrared flash to capture images of mid to large size mammals that travel in front of the camera. This year, we have deployed a pilot project to test the efficacy of camera trapping in southern Alberta. Working largely with the University of Alberta and other landowners, we have installed approximately 40 cameras on land near Edmonton, Brooks, and Kinsella. These sites will assist us in evaluating the use of cameras for mammal monitoring in southern Alberta, and in the possible development of future protocols.

There are several challenges to using cameras, including capture rate, the use of baiting/lures, camera placement, risk of theft, and confidentiality issues. These are all challenges that we are hoping our pilot project can help us start to address.  For more information or to contribute ideas on camera trapping, please contact Cole Burton at 780-492-0228 or