The Use of Remote Cameras to Monitor Traffic Activity
Padilla Paniagua, Manuel Antonio
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Remote Infrared-triggered cameras are commonly used in wildlife management research. Cameras are used for population estimates, identification, and behavioral observations. Road systems are an important factor in wildlife management research and are monitored using a variety of methods. The purpose of this study was to use infrared-triggered cameras as a novel, cost efficient tool to measure traffic activity for use in wildlife management. I conducted a pilot study in order to determine which traffic monitoring system would be the most accurate and cost effective. This pilot study was conducted on a heavily trafficked road comparing Cuddeback and Reconyx cameras to pneumatic road counters and manual observation. I used the Cuddeback Attack? digital infrared-triggered cameras in a field study at Camp Bullis, San Antonio on three different road types (Paved, gravel, and trail). Eighteen cameras collected a total of 58,658 vehicle observations over the course of 12 months. I determined that vehicle observations made by month and hour were dependent on each of the road types by Pearson?s Chi-squared test (P < 0.0001) with paved roads having the highest observations. Traffic activity was highest during temperate months (March/October) and hours (900-1000). The results can be used at Camp Bullis to determine when and where to best conduct population estimates on their white-tailed deer population as paved roads may bias the estimate. Overall, vehicle monitoring by camera may provide researchers with a baseline on how traffic may or may not affect convenience sampling bias on wildlife migration, distribution, or nesting habits.