Assessment of the mammalian and avian community in the Laramie Range, Wyoming, with camera traps

Askelson, Kenny K.
Riotto, Robert
Barocas, Adi
The effects of habitat on the composition of the avian and mammalian community in the intermountain west are largely unknown. To evaluate the effectiveness of remotely activated cameras for describing these communities we deployed camera traps in two grids in the Laramie Range, Wyoming. Twenty three cameras were set for 45 days, yielding 415 videos with 275 independent animal detections. Most detected species were nocturnal except for elk and deer which were equally active in both day and night. The three Sciurids (least chipmunks (Tamias minimus), red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), and fox squirrel (Sciurus niger)) were exclusively diurnal. There were more animal detections in the sagebrush grid but most were obtained from a single camera. In contrast, there was slightly higher species diversity in the forest. Within each functional group (birds, small mammals and large mammals), smaller bodied animals were detected more often. Our results suggest that remotely activated cameras are adequately suited for detecting and monitoring small and large mammals, regardless of their activity patterns. The relation between camera detections and abundance of small and large mammals is currently under investigation. For increasing detection success of birds we suggest different placement of the cameras.
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