Nightly encounters with our camera traps
Camera trapping enables you to get a glimpse behind the scenes. Especially at night when the veil of darkness covers wildlife for us humans and leaves us with sound-only. Our aim for the trip to Laikipia was to take pictures of the mysterious black leopard. Thanks to the experienced eye of our tracker and guide we were able to find a young female black leopard, while on a night drive, even without the camera traps. Have a look at our post on wildlife conservation in Laikipia for the pictures of this beautiful cat.
Nevertheless the results we got from the traps were amazing. Camera trapping is like putting up a treasure box to be filled with exciting pictures while you are away. But to allow that to happen it takes a lot of equipment, planning, knowledge, dedication and patience.
Preparation started early. Willem tested all the required equipment in our garden in Holland with nightly visitors like foxes, pine martens and hedgehogs. We ended up taking two fully kitted camera traps to Laikipia, meaning 25 kg of extra weight in cameras, flashes, protective boxes, tripods, light stands, triggers, PIR sensors and tons of batteries. Most of the critical equipment we used comes from Camtraptions.
With the aid of the local guides we set up the camera traps on wildlife paths and close to carcasses. Due to the persistent drought in the area a lot of cattle died attracting lots of scavengers. We would leave the traps at the same spots for several days, only checking for batteries now and then.
Opening up a camera trap is always exciting. You never know what happened while you were away. It is often hit and miss. Misses mean that nothing was written to the memory card, the picture was wrongly exposed, the batteries were drained or part of the animal is missing from the picture. This can all be a bit frustrating but if it all comes together you end up with stunning pictures. In the end the patience and the dedication of the whole team paid off.
The pictures in the gallery below were all taken using our camera traps. A true glimpse behind the scenes with a variety of night time encounters with our camera traps.