Research Highlights: Camera-traps for detecting human intrusions in tropical forests

Tony Lynam, chair of the ATBC’s Asia-Pacific Chapter and colleagues just published an innovative article on camera-traps: (

In a special note to ATBC, Dr. Lynam wrote:

“Camera-traps have traditionally been used for detecting wildlife, and estimating populations of marked individuals such as tigers.  In the Bangladesh Sundarbans, Abu Naser Mohsin Hossain led a study to assess how camera-traps might be used to identify forest intruders, and so be potentially useful as a tool for extending the reach of ranger patrol teams in remote areas.

Using an occupancy modelling approach, we quantified illegal human activity, and detected spatial and temporal variation in illegal human activity across the West, South and East Sundarbans Sanctuaries, which may be due to variation in enforcement effort as well as underlying threat levels.
We found that camera-traps may be especially useful for monitoring threat ‘hotspots’, where despite extremely limited resources for patrolling, detection rates of human intrusions and illegal boats can be improved.  Date and time stamps on identifiable photographs can potentially provide actionable supporting evidence for securing prosecutions for forestry or fishery crime.
Finally the study was made possible by collaboration between the Bangladesh Forest Department, conservation agencies (WildTeam and WCS), and King Mongkut’s University of Technology (Thailand), where Naser is completing his Ph.D studies.”
Congrats authors for such important contribution!
Lynam cam trap

Examples of different types of IHA identified from camera-trap photos; (A) fisherman, (B) crab fishing and (C) Nypa cutter, (D) and (E) photographs used to define IHAIQ. A.N.M. Hossain et al. / Biological Conservation 201 (2016) 314–319