Biodiversity Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (6): 696-703.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2014.14225

Special Issue: On Species Catalogue of China

• Orginal Article • Previous Article     Next Article

Infrared camera traps in wildlife research and monitoring in China: issues and insights

Lvbing Zhang1, 2, Shaopeng Cui1, 2, Yuanjun Huang1, 2, Daiqiang Chen1, 2, Huijie Qiao1, Chunwang Li1, Zhigang Jiang1, *()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2014-10-23 Accepted:2014-11-23 Online:2014-12-11
  • Jiang Zhigang

Infrared-triggered camera (camera trap) is a “non-invasive” method for detecting or recording wild animals, and is a useful tool for studying animal diversity, population ecology and animal behavior. The development of infrared camera traps facilitates contemporary biodiversity research and conservation efforts in China. In addition to researchers, most Chinese nature reserves are using camera traps to monitor animals. Based on publications from the past two decades, we summarized common issues related to research content, experimental design, and trends in infrared camera usage. We also discuss the drawbacks and limitations of infrared cameras in terms of disturbance to animals, image identification, and scope of application and security of the cameras in the field. Finally, we provide direction for the future establishment of monitoring protocols, data integration and sharing, and improving monitoring efficiency in using camera traps.

Key words: infrared triggered camera, camera trap, wild animal monitoring, biodiversity, population, nature reserve


Frequency plot of trapping days spent in camera-trap researches (a) and sampling area of camera-trap researches (b)"

Fig. 2

Efforts of camera-trap researches in vegetation and habitats types. BF, boreal forests; TDB, temperate deciduous broad-leaved forests; TM & R, tropical monsoon forests and rain forests; TG, temperate grassland; TD, temperate desert; SE, subtropical evergreen forests; TPA, alpine of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau; TCB, temperate coniferous broad-leaved forest"

Fig. 3

Geographic bias in research contribution of camera traps"

Fig. 4

Temporal trends in publication number (a) and researching periods of domestic researches (b) about camera traps"

Fig. 5

Species richness in different vegetation and habitat types based on the camera trap monitoring. Abbreviations consulting in Fig. 2."

Table S1

Mammal and bird groups captured with infrared-camera traps in wildlife research and monitoring of China"

动物类群 Taxon 种群或多样性研究
Researches on population ecology or biodiversity
Researches on animal behavior
Species number
Species number
哺乳纲 Mammalia
食肉目 Carnivora
犬科 Canidae 8 5
猫科 Felidae 27 7 3 1
鼬科 Mustelidae 46 8
熊猫科和熊科 Ailuropodidae, Ursidae 7 2
灵猫科 Viverridae 18 4
偶蹄目 Artiodactyla
鹿科 Cervidae 30 9 1 1
牛科 Bovidae 24 9
猪科 Suidae 16 1
麝科 Moschidae 4 3
骆驼科 Camelidae 1 1 1 1
灵长目 Primates
猴科 Cercopithecidae 8 4
懒猴科 Lorisidae 2 2
啮齿目 Rodentia
松鼠科 Sciuridae 33 9
鼠科 Muridae 14 >4
鼹形鼠科 Spalacidae 2 2
豪猪科 Hystricidae 5 1
兔形目 Lagomorpha
兔科 Leporidae 10 5
鼠兔科 Ochotonidae 1 1
奇蹄目 Perissodactyla
马科 Equidae 1 1
食虫类 Insectivora
鼩鼱科 Soricidae 2 1
猬科 Erinaceidae 3 1
鳞甲目 Pholidota
鲮鲤科 Manidae 1 1
树鼩目 Scandentia
树鼩科 Tupaiidae 1 1
翼手目 Chiroptera
狐蝠科 Pteropodidae 1 2
鸟纲 Aves
雀形目 Passeriformes 151 -
鸡形目 Galliformes 17 - 3 2
鸽形目 Columbiformes 4 -
隼形目 Falconiformes 8 -
鸮形目 Strigiformes 3 -
鴷形目 Coraciiformes 8 -
鸻形目 Charadriiformes 1 -
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