An Evidence-Based Approach to Camera Trapping


This intermediate level event explores key considerations when using cam trapping to assist with assessment of resting sites and activity surveys of mammals. The training will focus on critical aspects of survey design and methodology, with reference to recent research studies and practical sessions at the venue.


European Protected Species licenses require that there is an assessment of any resting sites which will be affected by development activities. Otters' resting sites are particularly difficult to assess; using field evidence alone allows little more than guess work. Cam traps are increasingly used to assist in this task, but evidence-based guidelines are yet to be produced, so this course shares information to guide participants when undertaking cam trap surveys.

This course, jointly delivered by Patrick White (Edinburgh Napier University) and Mel Findlay, will detail what should be considered when cam trapping mammals and their dens to assess activity. Camera-trap methodology will be the main focus using Eurasian otter, Asian short-clawed otter, Eurasian beaver and Eurasian badger to illustrate species-based differences using data and footage from CCTV controlled trials with captive and wild animals.

Otters will be used as the main example as they present the greatest challenge in terms of their unpredictable denning habits and their reduced detectability by motion detectors when wet.

The course will discuss critical aspects of survey design such as minimum trapping period, distance between camtrap and target and distance of target from water and cam trap settings and will be supported by trial data and many long-term wild otter holt site studies. Participants should have a good working knowledge of otter ecology, preferably from attending an Otter Ecology and Survey CIEEM course. The course will mainly be in the classroom with practical work sessions in the zoo grounds.

Who Should Attend?

Consultants, researchers, students, planners, licencing staff within SNCOs.

Knowledge Level

Intermediate - Advanced

Prior Knowledge

The training draws on a number of Otter case-studies / research projects so a good knowledge of otter ecology is required together with some experience of camera trapping.

Learning Outcomes

  • Review a potential camera trap site and optimise deployment of traps including number of traps, season, distance of traps to target, minimum trapping period and program settings of camtrap.
  • Extract data from cam trap videos in relation to sexing otters, behaviour and activity patterns.
  • Assess significance of otter resting sites from cam trap data.
  • Understand the constraints of assessing data, including detectability issues.
  • Report findings clearly from cam trap monitoring to support derogation licenses or for impact assessment.


Refreshments will be provided throughout the day. Please bring your own packed lunch.


Tickets Person(s) Price
Member Ticket 1 £110.00
Non Member Ticket 1 £180.00