We are presently deploying and expanding a network of camera traps around the outside of beehive fence protected farms that are being constantly monitored by our team of interns and volunteers.
Camera Traps are expensive to buy and run so we are very careful to ensure they are locked securely at each selected site. We use a combination of Moultrie and Bushnell Camera Traps, each has its own advantages and disadvantages but in general, we are impressed by the capability of the cameras to capture night time images of different visiting mammal species.
Why we are using camera traps?
Firstly, we want to find out what animal species are living in and around our bee-hive fence community so that we can monitor and record any other crop-raiding mammals that may be having an impact on beehive or farm productivity (other than elephants!).
Living so close to Tsavo East National Park we have seen a fascinating variety of mammals so far from aardwolves to hyena to serval walking around our farms at night. Most common are baboons and camels from some of the Somali pastoralists that pass through the area. Not exactly wild animals but they are certainly crop-raiders!
Secondly, we are attempting to record and observe the nocturnal behavior of the elephants that are migrating through the community, either crop-raiding farms, or on their way to distant lands.
In particular, we are keen to see how elephants react to the beehive fences as we want to determine whether the elephants are avoiding the beehive fences due to the sight and sound of the bees, or whether the bees are actually swarming out of the hives to sting the elephants at night.
So far its been hard to get many photos of elephants around the farms, they seem to have a magical ability to sneak around the camera traps and we only have a few precious images of bull elephants so far!