Thanks to your incredible support, the BOS Foundation Post Release Monitoring (PRM) team in the Bukit Batikap Protection Forest continues to monitor orangutans and collect data from the camera traps, and it is always exciting to see the results.
We are delighted to share the image of female orangutan Gina as she decided to “investigate” one of the cameras. Wild animal interference with remote cameras is an issue for all researchers using camera traps. Some species are renowned for their enthusiastic interest in cameras, for instance, bears. In our case, many different species take an interest in the cameras and sometimes try to move them, like the image below of a young pig-tailed macaque readjusting the camera as he/she feels works better.
Reintroduced orangutans also sometimes take a keen interest. This is because they have been rehabilitated by human caregivers and have less fear of new objects compared to wild orangutans. We anticipated this, and each camera is housed in a strong steel box and secured with a python cable. We have also tried different ways of camouflaging the cameras, which is harder than it sounds because camouflage materials can get in the way of the camera lens, which can cause the camera to continually misfire and take images of whatever is in its way.
Recently Gina, released into Batikap in April 2016, spotted one of the cameras and purposely made her way toward it. The camera documented over 20 minutes of her time spent systematically “investigating” it. Fortunately, she couldn’t open the security box to access the back of the camera, and we were able to retrieve the SD memory card and watch the entire sequence of her antics. Another of the cameras was also an interesting item to investigate. The unidentified orangutan had peeled away the bottom of the steel box the camera was secured in – that is how strong these great apes are!
Nonetheless, despite these occasional hiccups, the cameras can be fixed or replaced thanks to your wonderful support so that they can continue to provide us with these incredible insights and images of the orangutans and so many other species.
We will continue to report back with our new findings. In the meantime, please enjoy the photos of Gina and some of the other forest dwellers who are intrigued by the cameras.
Please support our camera trap project so we can continue to monitor our released orangutans and other wildlife sharing the same habitat.