Appendix E – Cuddeback Protocol Cuddeback Cameras Cascades Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project Survey Protocol for Remote Camera Checks - March 2008 Preparation 1. Coordinate with your team leader before you go out into the field to receive updates on any information you should be aware of or things to be on the lookout for based on the last camera check. 2. Ensure that you have the time to gather the supplies needed for your check and schedule the pick up either from the nearest Conservation Northwest office or your team leader/members. Conservation Northwest contacts: Seattle office: Marlo Mytty, 206.675.9747 x 201, Bellingham office: Rose Oliver, 360.671.9950 x 10 3. Before going into the field, make sure you/your team member have a copy of this document as well as everything else on the equipment checklist. Most important: fresh camera batteries, memory card, lure, data sheet, pencil, maps, a GPS to find your camera/document wildlife sign, and a digital camera to document wildlife sign. 4. Research the target species for your camera, including their habitat preferences, tracks and signs, and previous sightings in the area you are going. (The Cascades Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project Reference guide along with a track ID field guide is a good resource for this. We also have track ID documents in the office that we can provide.) 5. Review this protocol document the night before your transect if possible. Getting to Camera Site 1. Use your maps, directions and/or GPS coordinates if needed. It might be helpful to take a copy of the data sheet from the previous visit, which may have useful notes on it, and to take digital photos of the site when you get there (or bring them if already available) to help you/others find and identify the camera location on future visits. 2. Be on the lookout for tracks, scat, or other wildlife sign on the way to the camera and if encountered, document per Wildlife Sign Documentation Protocol section (below). 3. Look for flagging along the route and nearby the actual camera location, but don’t rely on it. Flagging can disappear and there may be flagging out there that is unrelated to our project. 4. For the next team, note on your data sheet any landmarks or unique characteristics of the site to make it easier for them to find the camera. Camera Setup For the first time the camera is placed in the field for the season, or in case you need to move the camera location. These are some things to look for when deciding where to setup the camera: • • • • • Find a location where wildlife will most likely pass by – a game trail, location with tracks or sign, excellent habitat, or landscape features that tend to funnel wildlife movement may be good sites - and place the camera so that it is pointed toward this area. Avoid sites within 500 m of campsites or 250 m of human trails if possible (this may be difficult for some of the I-90 locations). If setting camera on a trail, try to shoot at a 45-degree angle to the trail (as opposed to looking up or down the trail, or shooting directly perpendicular to the trail). This captures the best images. You will need 2 trees, 6 to 10 feet apart, one of them good-sized for mounting the camera and the other one, any size, to spread the lure on. Make sure the lure tree is large/sturdy enough though to withstand animals rubbing and leaning against it. Choose a shaded location and point camera north/south for best results, to keep photographs from being affected by sunlight. Avoid pointing camera east/west if possible, depending on how shaded the environment is. Look for a clear site or one that you can easily clear the camera’s view if obstructed by branches, leaves, or brush – plan to use a knife or saw if needed. Steps to take once you’ve identified your ideal location: • Attach the camera to the good-sized tree, above eye level and pointed downward toward the trunk of the other tree. Use the TEST feature (see details below) on the camera and other team members to help aim the camera at the right location. Keep in mind the size of the animal species that you are targeting while aiming the camera. You want the camera pointed low enough on the tree trunk to capture smaller animals like wolverine and pine marten, while the placement of the actual camera on the tree is high enough to get a view of larger animals walking by, like deer or bear. Once you have the camera in position, use bungee cords and/or other methods to secure the camera to the tree. Branches or nearby wood may be • • • • helpful to help tilt the camera downward to ensure the aim is correct. Anticipating spring snowmelt in many locations, this step may need to be repeated during future camera checks. Open camera and wipe lens with cleaning cloth if needed. Take care not to scratch lens or sensor. Insert batteries, using proper orientation. There is a reminder on the faceplate of the camera, to the right of the bottom-most screw that indicates battery orientation (page 11) Insert memory card, oriented with the printed (front) side facing the same way the camera is facing (page 10) Turn camera on and confirm all settings (listed below). Recommended Settings for the Cuddeback in EZ Mode: Camera Delay: 1 Minute Set Date: (Current) Sense Level: HIGH Format Card: YES when inserting a fresh, replacement card. THIS ERASES ALL IMAGES ON THE CARD – do not format a card that you are retrieving from the field!!! WHEN YOU TURN ON YOUR CUDDEBACK CAMERA: 1) If it asks you “EZ Mode Change?” … do nothing until the question goes away. 2) It will say “Please Wait…” 3) Next, it will display the number of photos taken and the current date and time. 4) PLEASE CONFIRM that the date and time are correct (within a minute or two). 5) Pressing M will display how many images have been recorded onto the card. 6) Pressing M again will display the MODE (Either Standby, Test, or Live Mode) CHECKING THE CAMERA’S AIM USING THE TEST FEATURE: 1) Press M until it displays what MODE it is in (either Live Mode, Test Mode, or Standby) 2) Press either yellow key until it says “TEST MODE.” This feature will allow you to walk in front of the camera and when you are in the center of the detection area, the red LED will illuminate. The camera needs a "warm-up period" for this to work properly, this may take up to 3 minutes. During the "warm-up", the LED will flash every few seconds and eventually quit flashing, indicating the TEST mode is ready for operation. • ARM camera to take pictures. To do this: a. Press the “M” button until it displays what mode it’s in – TEST, LIVE, OR STANDBY b. Press either yellow key until you move into “LIVE MODE.” It will be armed and ready to take photos in 45 seconds. • • • • Affix Zorb-it (moisture absorbing) packet inside camera body. Close camera body. Apply any lures that need to be applied to the tree after all camera handling has been completed…or have separate team members handling the camera and lure. This keeps the camera clean and free of lure. You may end up with a few images of yourself placing lure… Camera can take a picture at as close as 4'. 6-10' is ideal though. Steps for checking a camera that is already in place 1. Fill out data sheet as you go through the process detailed below (don’t forget your names, the date, and the camera name/location!) 2. Upon arriving, walk in front of the camera and trigger the motion sensor. This picture will verify that the camera is working and also serve as a reference if the date/time is incorrect. (As long as you make sure to record the date and time of the check on your data sheet so that we can match this against the date/time on the photos when we download them in the office). You can also verify the date/time by checking the settings (below). 3. Remove the front cover and record the number of picture events taken on the camera on your data sheet: Press “M” until it displays the number of images saved. This is the number you want to write down under “# of picture events” on datasheet. 4. Power off camera– use the slider button on upper left corner of face of camera to turn off. 5. Remove memory card (pull card down to remove it), place in ziploc bag, mark camera name/location and date on bag. 6. Unscrew battery plate and replace batteries in unit with fully charged batteries brought with you. Note icon in lower right hand corner indicating proper battery orientation. Replace battery plate. 7. Insert the fresh memory card you brought with you into the camera. 8. Check the stability of the camera (re-secure if necessary) and make sure there are no branches or objects obscuring the camera’s ability to take clear photographs. 9. Aim the camera and spread the lure* on tree opposite the camera. (*for all cameras other than the Easton I-90 site which is an unscented camera) . Make sure to spread the scent well in the area the camera is aimed at so that wildlife spend time sniffing in the focus of the camera. Also, spread some lure higher on the tree so that the scent is better picked up in the wind. Use branches to help in spreading the lures into the cracks of the trees, and expect that some will run down to the soil at the base of the tree. Make sure to record the types of lures applied by your team to the tree as in some cases there may be more than one, and this information will be entered into our database to track the wildlife response to different lures. 10. Turn camera back on. (Make sure date and time are correct when it comes back up, if not see section below on setting date/time.) 11. ERASE IMAGES on the card you just put in the camera; it should be blank, but make sure it is by doing the following: a. Press “S” until it asks, “Utilities?” and press “C” for YES. b. Cycle through the utilities by pressing S until it says “Format Card?” and press “C” for Yes. 12. ARM the camera so it will begin taking pictures once you leave the site. To do this: a. Press the “M” button until it displays what mode it’s in – TEST, LIVE, OR STANDBY b. Press either yellow key until you move into “LIVE MODE.” It will be armed and ready to take photos in 45 seconds. 13. Check the battery strength by pressing M. It should be 100%. 14. Close the camera and leave the site by walking away from the camera from behind/ to the side of the camera’s field of vision if you can. Setting Date and Time (if it needs to be reset): If you are going to an existing site, unless the battery has died, the date and time should be correct. But if you’re setting up a camera, or the battery has died, do the following: 1. Power camera up. 2. Press S button to activate changing the Date and Time. Change setting using the yellow buttons. Press S button to accept and move to the next setting option, which will be flashing. 3. Repeat this process until DATE, YEAR, and TIME is set up For more info on the camera, see: • Camera instructions online (or see the printed instructions that come with the camera): http://www.cuddebackdigital.com/images/pdfs/NoFlash_7_11_07.PDF • FAQ's and tips: http://app.cuddebackdigital.com/faq.aspx After your Camera Check 1. Email a brief report of your visit to your team leader. If there are any important news/findings, such as signs of a Level 1 species, problems with the camera or location, etc…contact your team leader immediately upon return and cc: Conservation Northwest - [email protected] If not critical, still please pass on any information about the site to your team leader. The next team will greatly benefit from a brief report, including site conditions, what you learned about animals in the area, topography, dangers, and any outstanding questions. Team leaders will be the communication point between your team and Conservation Northwest. 2. Return the memory card, your data sheet and camera battery to your team leader or the nearest Conservation Northwest office so that we can get the photos from your camera downloaded and the camera check information into our database. Inperson delivery is preferable to avoid potential data loss, but if not possible, mail is okay. Cameras should be checked roughly each month throughout the season. Your team leader will schedule checks to ensure that cameras are being checked regularly and lure refreshed. Wildlife Sign Documentation Protocol If you observe tracks, scat or signs of wildlife (dens, claw marks, diggings, etc...) on your way to the camera or at the camera site, use these procedures for documentation. However… NOTE: TRAILING SHOULD BE DONE ONLY IF YOU ARE WELL TRAINED IN OFF-TRAIL NAVIGATION AND WON’T GET LOST ON THE WAY BACK TO YOUR CAMERA CHECK/THE TRAIL CAUTION SHOULD BE USED IN BOTH TRAILING AND DOCUMENTING SIGNS SUCH AS BEAR DENS, FRESH SCAT ETC... If you feel unsafe, please skip this! Procedure for Tracks: How to Document (this will be difficult unless there is snow, mud or sand) 1. Stop your companion(s) and bring tracks to their attention. Stop walking to prevent destroying tracks. 2. Record data carefully by filling out the track information detailed here thoroughly on the Target Species Data Sheet. *Make sure to record the GPS coordinates. 3. For Level 1 species, or ambiguous tracks that may be a Level 1 animal, document tracks with measurements, sketches, and photographs. 4. Determine whether the animal is a trailing priority species (See list, Levels 1 and 2 below). If so, clearly mark trailable tracks if you plan to trail them on your return leg. 5. Mark the tracks as ‘done’ so a later team will know they have been recorded by your team. Draw an obvious circle around one or more tracks and leave a large footprint next to them with your boot or snowshoes, or hang some flagging. Procedure for Trailing: How to Document Note: Trailing may be much more difficult or not possible during spring/summer months when there is no snow, but if you are able to trail an animal, this is the protocol to use. Trailing can be done for Level 1 and 2 species as you see them, before or after the camera check. Level 1 species should be trailed wherever possible. In the case of the top 4 species (wolverine, fisher, lynx, wolf), these can be trailed as you see them, as they are critical rare species. Level 2 species should be trailed in the absence of Level 1 species, after completing your camera check and where time is available. Level 3 species are not to be trailed until all other work is complete, as they are of low priority for this study. 1. When you identify a Level 1 or Level 2 species (on the way to your camera), mark its trail for easy identification on your return leg with flagging if needed, and note the trail in your field notes on a list of trailing possibilities. Record the GPS coordinates on your data sheet. 2. When your team completes the camera check, you should review trailing possibilities from the outward leg and decide which are of highest priority. Level 1 or 2 species are highest priority. Level 3 are great if you have time. 3. On the return leg, follow the selected trails towards the highway (if you are on an I-90 camera or a camera placed close to a highway). Record all discernable behaviors on your Trailing Record Data Sheet, especially with reference to the highway. For example, if you are able to follow/see tracks this far, how close does the animal approach the highway? Does it attempt to cross it? Does it walk along it for some distance? Does it make a lay close to the highway? Does it remain in cover or in full view? See data sheet and attached notes for how to record these observations. 4. Record the path of the animal by documenting frequent GPS UTM coordinates (with associated commentary in notes, where appropriate)—especially for Level 1 species. This may be of particular value if the tracks suggest an attempted highway crossing, as GPS records for tracks found on opposite sides may help determine whether the tracks probably belong to the same individual, which crossed successfully. 5. Trail Level 1 species as far as possible to gather as much information about the animal as you can. For Level 2 species, the energy expended trailing should depend on your judgment, safety considerations, and whether the camera check has been completed. 6. If you have found a Level 1 species, contact Jen Watkins at Conservation Northwest ASAP at 206.940.7914 (cell), or secondly the Conservation Northwest office at 206.675.9747 x 203 Jen, or x 201 Marlo so that we can quickly alert local biologists. Procedure for Sign Other than Tracks Follow the procedures outlined above for dealing with track evidence. In addition, take samples of hair and scat if the animal is or may be a Level 1 species. These samples should be placed in sealed bags and immediately labeled with camera location/name, date, team-leader’s name and an observation number (match up with the observation # you use on your data sheet.) Make sure to record the GPS coordinates. Procedure for Ambiguous or Unclear Tracks or Sign 1. When ambiguous or unidentifiable tracks are found, the first step is to search the area for better tracks of the same animal. If there is a trail you can follow, this is one way you may discover clearer tracks for that individual. In general, look for where the creature has entered more sheltered areas. If the animal can then be positively identified, record species on data sheets as usual. 2. If clearer identifiable tracks cannot be found, then ambiguous or unidentifiable tracks should be treated with care, especially if they might indicate a Level 1 Species. 3. If the tracks are possibly Level 1, document them in detail. Follow the usual procedure for documenting tracks, and ensure good sketches, photos and measurements are taken. 4. Unclear tracks that are clearly NOT a Level 1 species should simply be recorded as “unidentified species.” In the attached notes, list possible species if appropriate. 5. If you have found a Level 1 species, contact Jen Watkins at Conservation Northwest ASAP at 206.940.7914 (cell), or secondly the Conservation Northwest office at 206.675.9747 x 203 Jen, or x 201 Marlo so that we can quickly alert local biologists. Photographic Documentation Procedure Key points for photo documentation of single tracks: • Take photo looking directly down on track to reduce distortion. • Include two scales, preferably rulers, one running lengthwise, the second widthwise. • Take at least one picture of the track that includes a card in the picture with Camera Name/Location, Date and Observation Number and Team Leader’s name. • Take multiple photographs to ensure you get a quality shot. Key points for photographing gait patterns and trails: • Include a scale of some sort. Often this may be leaving the scale you used for an individual track on the ground by that track (thus also giving a reference for where the individual track sits in the pattern). • Try to take picture looking straight down on trail to reduce distortion. If this is impossible due to size of trail, include scales both near and far to account for distortion. Sketches and Measurements Fill out the Target species data sheet to record this information for Level 1 species. Attempt to make all drawings either life size or to scale (note what scale is). APPENDIX SPECIES PRIORITY LIST Tracking priority for this study in descending order Level 1 Wolverine Fisher Lynx Wolf Grizzly bear Cougar Level 2 Marten Mountain goat Elk Mule deer Mountain red fox Level 3 Black bear Bobcat Coyote Raccoon Snowshoe hare and smaller animals—do not record KEY Level 1 species should be trailed wherever possible. In the case of the top 4 species (wolverine, fisher, lynx, wolf), these can be trailed as you see them, as they are critical rare species. Level 2 species should be trailed in the absence of Level 1 species, after completing your camera check and where time is available. Level 3 species are not to be trailed until all other work is complete, as they are of low priority for this study. CASCADE WILDLIFE MONITORING PROJECT TRACK MEASUREMENT GUIDELINES Length and Width: Use track minimum outline. Group length: measured from the back of the track furthest back in a set of 4 tracks to the front of the track furthest forward. NOT USED FOR walking or trotting gaits (groups of 2). Stride: measured from a place on one foot (such as the “center of the front left”) to the same place on the same foot the next time it appears in the trail. Straddle: distance from the outside of the leftmost track in a trail to the outside of the rightmost (using minimum outline). Also called trail width. Center Straddle: distance from the center of the leftmost track in a trail to the center of the rightmost. Trough: width of the entire disturbance created by an animal’s trail (greater then the minimum outline of the tracks which may be indecipherable in some instances). track minimum outline PHOTOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTATION GUIDELINES Cascade Wildlife Monitoring Project PHOTOGRAPHS OF INDIVIDUAL TRACKS: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Take photo looking directly down on track to reduce distortion. For close up photographs, fill the entire frame with the track and measuring devises Include two scales, preferably rulers, one running lengthwise, and the second widthwise. Take at least one picture of the track that includes a card in the picture with: • Site Name • Date • Observation Number • Team leader’s name. Take multiple photographs to ensure you get a quality shot. Card with info noted above CLOSE UP OF TRACK PHOTOGRAPHS OF GAITS/TRAIL PATTERNS 1. 2. Include a scale of some sort. Often this may be leaving the scale you used for an individual track on the ground by that track (thus also giving a reference for where the individual track sits in the pattern). Try to take picture looking straight down on trail to reduce distortion. If this is impossible due to size of trail, include scales both near and far to account for distortion. Tape measure PHOTOGRAPHING THE SETTING Also consider taking photographs of people looking at the tracks or sign, or pictures which show the tracks in the context of the location they are found to accompany the detail photographs.