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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Determining if White-Flash and Infrared-Flash Camera Traps Have Different Capture Rates at Bait Stations for the Brushtail Possum, Trichosurus vulpecula

  • Author(s): Sam, Shona
  • Ogilvie, Shaun
  • Paterson, Adrian
  • McIlroy, John
  • Eason, Charles
  • et al.

The use of infrared-flash camera traps has increased dramatically over the past ten years particularly for capturerecapture population studies of distinctly-marked species. However, to use capture-recapture with the more inconspicuous species, high-quality colour imaging (and therefore white flash) is required. A potential problem with white flash is that it may negatively affect behaviour, in this case at bait stations, therefore causing results that do not truly represent possum activity. Possums were used in this study to compare two different types of camera trap: infrared and white flash. Camera traps were placed to take images of possums visiting bait stations, and the number of possum visits was used to determine if white-flash cameras gave different results to infrared-flash cameras. The white-flash cameras had slightly higher possum visits than infrared-flash cameras but the difference was not significant (P=0.437). Over time, the number of possum events (P=0.62) and the amount of time possums spent at the stations did not differ significantly (P=0.81). There was also no difference in the amount of bait taken by possums at white flash compared to infrared stations (P=0.61). Results show possums are not likely to be affected by white-flash cameras compared to infrared-flash cameras. This study therefore showed that there is unlikely to be any behavioural disadvantage in using white flash over infrared, allowing white-flash cameras to be investigated for their potential in identifying individual possums, and as a monitoring tool in control operations.

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