I hadn’t known that the first camera traps were made in the 1800s. Did you?
Originally posted on Snapshot Serengeti:
Studying animals in the wild can be incredibly difficult. In Serengeti, for example, many of the animals we might want to know more about are really shy (like leopards), or aggressive (like buffalo and elephants) — and it’s hard to get close to them to study their behavior. Furthermore, a lot of the wildlife we study is nocturnal – meaning the animals are active at night, in the dark, when it’s virtually impossible to watch them in any meaningful way.
Enter camera traps to save the day. If you’re a researcher, a hunter, or a wildlife enthusiast, you’ve probably heard about camera traps. These are remotely triggered cameras that are transforming the way people study wildlife. Instead of taking pictures of the animals, the animals take pictures of themselves!
You might be surprised to discover that camera traps have been around for a long time. A really long time. In the 1890’s, a fellow named George Shiras developed a system so that wildlife triggered a trip wire, which triggered a flash and the camera shutter – producing the first wildlife “self portraits.” He was pretty creative in inducing the animals to trip the wire – for example, to photograph beavers he would tie the trip wire to a dislodged stick in the beaver’s dam. When the beaver went to repair the dam, it triggered the camera!
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