Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

American black bear

eMammal has transferred the data input aspect to Wildlife Insights, which is a camera trap data platform collaborative between several international NGOs. eMammal is now a repository of camera trap projects that were originally entered through the eMammal data entry tools have been endorsed by the Smithsonian. Much of the data can be also accessed here or through Wildlife Insights’s public page. To create new projects, please visit Wildlife Insights.

Camera trap costs:
Suitable camera traps cost approximately $200 (Bushnell) to $600 (Reconyx) each. Camera trap accessories including locks, SD cards, batteries, and memory card readers total approximately $50 per camera

The eMammal staff uses Reconyx* or Bushnell brands for their projects, but camera models are constantly being upgraded. We recommend you check the website Campro for latest camera features and recommendations. See our discussion on camera trap models for more details and the possibility of using other cameras.

Yes! eMammal can be used by people of all ages. We have developed science curricula that links camera trapping and science education for K-12 and university settings.

First check with your project for specific requirements (e.g. at designated coordinates or type of habitat). Camera traps should be placed in clear areas, in areas of low human traffic, and pointed away from roads on a straight tree.

Yes, although some studies place an embargo on their data so that they have a chance to analyze and publish their results first. You can download and analyze the data from past camera trap projects here!

No. The specific locations of endangered species are not made available to the public, to protect the species from potential poaching.

Even if you find no or few animals on your camera trip, your photos are still valuable to answer scientific questions! In addition to knowing where animals are, we also need to know where they aren’t. We want you to upload the photos and identify what is in the photos (there are options for camera trappers and humans).

Yes you can use photos you find on our website, as long as you follow the terms of our Creative Commons license. You may use the photos for non-commercial purposes, you may not significantly modify the photos, and you must credit eMammal and the project or the project investigator as the source of the photos.

Camera traps are designed to be used under all weather conditions. They will function fine in the rain and should not be turned off.

You will upload all photos from your memory card, including people photos. People photos are stored and blurred in a digital repository at the Smithsonian, but will not be released to the public.

Some animals notice and investigate the camera traps. If you look through our View Photos page, you may see some photos of animals doing this. However, camera traps do not seem to change the behavior of the animals. Some animals, like bears and elephants, will even destroy camera traps. If you worry about camera theft, the cameras are designed to include use of cable and lock and an extra metal box can be purchased for each camera.

When the camera traps are armed, they will not make noise or emit light. The camera traps we recommend use an infrared flash for night and low light pictures. This flash is barely visible and does not scare animals, but does mean that night photos are in black and white.

A camera trap deployment will last as long as the batteries last, which depends on the quality of the batteries and the number of photos taken. If new batteries are used, a single deployment can last for months. However, most projects in eMammal ran deployments for 3-4 weeks regardless of battery life. The camera traps themselves will last for years.

In most cases, camera traps are moved every 3-4 weeks. However, for some projects, camera traps may be left in the same location, but with different deployments run every 3-4 weeks. Check with your project on protocols.

Your project manager is in charge of setting up these permissions, please contact them for further details. Usually for a national park you will need a permit, and for some projects the potential site needs to be approved by the superintendent or land manager.