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An audio/video surveillance system for wildlife


We report 7 years of experience with an inexpensive and reliable continuous audio/video recording system. The main components of the system are commercial, infrared illuminator surveillance cameras, mini microphones and portable digital video recorders, powered by deep cycle lead-acid batteries. We used the system for monitoring 41 broods of four endemic bird species in tropical rainforests of New Caledonia. We recorded for over 22,000 h in total. We kept the system at nests for a maximum period of 7 months, and the longest time we continuously recorded for was 58 days. We watched the recordings at 24–36 times speed and were able to recognise individuals, quantify their behaviour and document visits of predators. The system proved its applicability in behavioural studies of nesting birds, but we believe it is appropriate for continuous monitoring of any site frequently visited by wildlife.

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This study was part of the research project “Impact of introduced mammals and habitat loss on endemic birds of New Caledonia”, done in cooperation with the Direction de l’Environnement (Province Sud, New Caledonia), which issued all permits for this study, and financed by the Loro Parque Fundación (Spain), Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education (Grant 2P04F 001 29), Conservation des Espèces et Populations Animales (France), La Fondation Nature et Découvertes (France), Fonds für bedrohte Papageien-Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten-und Populationsschutz (Germany), and doctoral grants from Province Sud (to SR) and the University of Tasmania (to AL). We thank M. Broersen, C. Chatreau, P. de Pous, D. Dingemans, S. Duijns, B. Michielsen, E. Minnema, L. Nijdam, H. Theuerkauf, J. van Dijk, M. van Opijnen and J. Wardenaar for their help during field work.

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Correspondence to Roman Gula.

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Communicated by C. Gortázar

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Gula, R., Theuerkauf, J., Rouys, S. et al. An audio/video surveillance system for wildlife. Eur J Wildl Res 56, 803–807 (2010).

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  • Methods
  • Video surveillance
  • Nest monitoring
  • Digital video