Development of a counting system for amphibians
To improve and simplify the counting of amphibians, e.g. to monitor the success of amphibian underpasses, a special wildlife camera was developed. Compared to conventional camera traps, the WLS-Amphicam can reliably detect amphibians despite their lack of heat radiation. Detected animals are recorded as photos or videos.
The advantages of the WLS-Ampicam over established counting methods are:
- Quantitative recording of all migrating animals over long periods of time
- Ability to reliably detect even juvenile animals that are difficult to record by conventional methods (direct observation difficult) or are quickly harmed (e.g. risk of suffocation in large accumulations in catch buckets)
- Low invasiveness: no capture and manipulation of animals, thus avoiding stress, injuries and habitat disturbance. In contrast to counts with catch buckets, amphibian underpasses reduce the risk of disease transmission between animals (e.g. chytridiomycosis)
- Low workload: the WLS-Amphicam stores up to 128 GB data. It runs on a 12 V battery which optionally can be charged with a solar panel
Besides detecting and counting amphibians, the system is also well suited for surveys of particularly fast and agile animals, such as stoats and weasels that are difficult to detect by common wildlife cameras.