by Nathan Ranc
AN EYE ON THE WILD
As 21st Century humans, we scarcely encounter wild life. This may be a result of the elusive behavior of many animal species, perhaps caused or intensified by historical, human persecutions, or simply because our modern societies have ceased to interact with other species and have effectively disintegrated themselves from nature. Consequently, our understanding of animal ecology, by observation, is qualitatively limited. To overcome this issue, wildlife ecologists have started to use trail cameras, which passively detect and register animals wandering through their natural environments. If deployed correctly, trail cameras have a negligible impact on animal behavior, and can offer us an opportunity to learn more about the intimate life and ecology of the natural environment. A trail camera is a technological device used to detect and register photos or videos of living creatures remotely (without intervention from the user). A picture or video is triggered when the trail camera’s sensor detects a warm object in movement. In the dark, this trigger is usually accompanied by a virtually undetectable infrared light.