Secrets of Tanzania caught on a camera trap
By David Guthrie, Tent With A View
We’re in the great safari lands of Tanzania, and there’s so much out there. Some of it shy, some of it nocturnal, but we have a secret tool that reveals all, well nearly all.
Camera traps: an essential part of the animal researcher’s kit. They regularly uncover new species, provide compelling evidence of seasonal variations, population trends and can pose brand new questions with the exciting evidence they collect. They are also great fun; guaranteed to bring out the tracker in all family members seeking to outwit the opposition and find the optimum spot to place one.
HOW TO PLACE A CAMERA TRAP
With a professional guide to help you, and to make sure you don’t walk into anything large or ugly, venture out on foot, mindful of the following points:
Where are animals likely to gather? It could be around fruiting trees, it could be at a waterhole.
Where can you place the camera trap to most likely gather good pictures? The waterhole may be vast, the fruiting tree may offer no good positions to set the camera, and so you may have to look at trails to the gathering point.
Where on the trail will you get the best picture? Where a path has been forged through a gap in thick vegetation, close to a gathering point, animals will concentrate.
Now all that remains is to check for signs of fresh prints to see which species are likely to pass by and angle your camera trap so it points towards approaching animals. Camera traps take up to nine still shots at one or two second intervals or can take video for a full minute or so.
THE BEST TRACKER
The camera will be triggered by the motion of the animal, and records the pictures onto an SD card. At the end of your stay at Tent With A View, the resultant shots of each team’s camera trap will be viewed back at camp to find who among you is a budding guide and tracker.
THE SERIOUS SIDE OF CAMERA TRAPS
The camera traps we use help us significantly in monitoring seasonal movements of the animals around Elephant Island and Saadani National Park in general.
We have one site which is a permanent recording spot, used primarily to look at seasonal variations in usage of one of our waterholes and the trails leading to it. This camera has unearthed a remarkable behavioural trait among the elephants using the trail on which it sits. All pass from South to North! Out of hundreds taken, there is not one single picture of an elephant heading from North to South – clear evidence of a one way system strictly adhered to. The question now is why, and where does the return route pass?
Practice your camera trap skills on our Tanzania Family Holiday.
Other blogs for this trip
- 6 family travel myths debunked
- Ocean adventures: 6 of our favourite
- Following footprints in Tanzania - by Phoebe Millard, aged 15
- Cutest animals in Africa - by Honey Millard, aged 10
- Elephants in Tanzania - by Gabriel Millard, aged 13
- Turkey: in pictures
- Rosie Millard on the Longleat Family African Safari
- 5 tips for packing the perfect rucksack for an adventure
- Adventurous accommodation