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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Elephant offs cam

"Here are the photos of naughty elephant. Destroyed a trap-camera."

That was UMA's terse message received last night with photo attachements from the Rakhine Yoma.

The trainees from the camera trapping course just completed their first elephant survey.

The elephant appears to be a young adult makna (pronounced muck-na) or tuskless male.

He almost walked past the cam, but must have seen the infrared flash, which isn't a flash at all -- just a dim and momentary red light.

I'm assuming that's what caught its attention.

He did a double take and reached out to the camera.

The infrared flash doesn't freeze action, thus the blurry image.  

He started to move on, but changed his mind.

And the last clear photo was up close and personal. After that he "offed" the camera. 

UMA confided that our jungle man, Ye Myint had staked the camera to a sapling. 

That's a "no-no", especially in elephant country.

Lesson learned. 

When in elephant county lash your camera to "a beeeg tree" and make sure the spiked camera protector is clamped on tight.


JK said...

Oh man. Poor Bushie.

Trailblazer said...

Interesting....do they go after white flash cams like this too?

I've heard folks anecdotally report that bears will go after infrared cams moreso than white flash, but don't know how much truth there is in it...

Henry said...

Some more speculation:

I've also noticed that the animals tend to "investigate" my IR cameras more than the white flash units.

I think the fact that the white flash cameras produce a very short but intense flash makes it harder to pinpoint, and the time between flashes are longer. The bright light might also deter prolonged investigation... Or maybe the animals are just very "comfartable" with white flash.

The IR cameras are actualy quite easy to see. The LEDs stay lit long enough to easily figure out where the camera is. I also think the animals find the "funny glowing red thing" more interesting than the white flash. I also have a feeling that animals that encounter an IR camera for the first time show more interest than the ones that encounter a white flash unit.

My new ScoutGaurd is a "noisy" camera and my initial impression is that the animals (actually mostly porcupines) stay around longer because they are interested in what might be causing the noise...

(It would be interesting to sit down and take some time to investigate these ideas a bit more thoroughly.)

Joe said...

WOW! And I thought bears were hard on cameras :). I really haven't noticed any difference between IR and flash as far as animals checking them out. My IR is louder than the flash cameras and that gets their attention.

Ann Downer said...

Love this sequence of images.