The First Photos

It’s been four days since we finished setting up the camera traps, and we’ve collected the first round of photos.

The good news? We got a ton of data–almost 20,000 images from the twenty cameras. That’s one photo every 18 seconds, a lot more than I anticipated.

The bad news? I was up way past my bedtime last night in order to sort through all those photos before I collect more tomorrow (though to be fair, that’s not really saying much since I’m usually in bed by 9:00 and asleep by 9:30). More importantly, more than half the photos are useless because they captured nothing but small birds, shifting shadows, or swaying vegetation.

Two cameras are responsible for most of the extraneous photos, so I’ll adjust them and trim some of the offending vegetation, and see if we can get that number down to a more reasonable 12,000 photos or so. If that still doesn’t work, I could try extending the delay between bursts of photos. But I’m hesitant to do that because I’m absolutely petrified of missing something important. Besides, what’s a little lost sleep when you’re chasing leopards?

We haven’t  photographed any leopards or hyenas yet, but we’ve still collected some great data on the large mammals of Neuras:

Even oryx, which thrive in desert climates, like to drink when water is available.
An aardvark approaches a waterhole.



A black-backed jackal drinks alone.


A springbok earns its name. We can tell it’s a male by the way its horns curve inwards, rather than forwards as females’ horns do.


And some not-so-great data:

A blurry jackal wanders the Tsauchab riverbed.


A kudu uses the camera pole as a scratching post.


Baboons play with the new toy that magically appeared by their favorite waterhole. I removed the bright blue cover after that.


And I really couldn’t tell you what this little guy is. Flo thinks it’s a hopping scrub hare.


And some data that’s really no data at all:

The infrared flash of the opposing camera.
Ripples on the water trigger the camera.
A flying bird and dancing shadows trigger cameras, too.

I hope that soon we’ll see the first pictures of leopards and hyenas. Perhaps the amount of data we got on other species bodes well for the carnivore data, too.