Camera trap of the week
Camera trap of the week


Wildlife photography is both rewarding and frustrating, even for experienced photographers. While a great photo is something to treasure, the challenges of wildlife photography can leave the photographer feeling a little lost. The most common challenge is the distance between the photographer and its subject. Camera traps have solved this issue for photographers and especially for conservationists and wildlife biologists.


Photographer and wildlife-enthusiast George Shiras pioneered camera traps when he first experimented with remote-control flashlight cameras in the late 1880s. His first pictures of deer and other wildlife in Whitefish River, Michigan, were the world’s first trip-wire photography, which later were published in National Geographic magazine.


Camera traps (also known as Trail Cameras) are equipped with a motion sensor, an infrared sensor or use a light beam as a trigger. They capture images of wildlife even when researchers are absent. Camera traps have the ability to record shots in analog film or digital formats.


Years later, photographer Michael Nichols used Shiras’ concept in India, Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. By using camera traps in each of these locations he came up with spectacular photos of tigers, crocodiles, leopard, gorillas, elephants and hyenas.


Up until 2006 all the cameras utilized were ordinary plastic film based.  George Steinmetz brought the reliable technique into the 21st century when he became the first photographer to use digital camera traps. By switching to digital, camera memory capacity was increased (from 36 to about 500) and produced instant feedback rather than waiting for the film to be developed.


Nowadays camera traps can even record videos of wild animals. They are a critical tool used in wildlife studies, ecological research, hunting, detection of rare species, population size estimation, wildlife behaviour and the drawing of animal distribution maps.


As mentioned above, observing animals in the wild is a difficult and exhausting job. Conservationists in Iran, suffer the same challenges. Therefore, using camera traps have helped many field researchers and given them a tool that gives better and more accurate information.


Over the past few years, the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation has been working with camera traps in their projects as well. They have been essential in the Touran Biosphere Reserve and Golestan National Park projects. During the time that PWHF has been engaged in these projects, these magnificent devices have given us a great deal of information about the many species that live in the aforementioned areas, including cheetahs, leopards, wild goats, wild sheep, chinkaras, common fox and many other mammals, reptiles and bird species.


Installation of these cameras in the field and analyzing their data, takes a lot of time and effort, which is continually performed and monitored by our devoted and diligent expert field specialists.  PWHF’s “Camera trap photo of the week” will be sharing these astonishing photos of Iran’s magnificent creatures with you.


By Shabnam Vaghayenegar