Frédéric Salgae, a naturalist living in the Pyrenees-Orientales, has been using camera traps for more than 15 years. He has even become an expert in this material, which he sells within his own company. It tells us about the use of animals to detect their presence, which is sometimes far from its original mission. It also mentions the legal framework within which camera traps must be set.
We can say that the camera trap has been around for a long time, especially with the use of infrared or laser barriers, sound triggers… But the current photo trap dates back almost twenty years. Basically, this equipment, which is activated when the animal passes through the sensor field, is designed and manufactured by American structures designed for hunting. This allows them to see the animals in the hunting grounds of the controlled ones. After that, their contribution to scientific missions is undeniable.
This type of material brings us additional elements to what we can find in the field.
“Traps allow us to provide complementary tools to classical identification tools, we rarely get random and seasonal indicators of the presence of animals on the ground.“, explains Frédérique Segales, specialist in camera traps installed at Bompas.This type of material brings us additional elements to what we can find in the field or through direct observation. Coincidentally, this also led to the discovery of new animals.
The first company in France
Former naturalist animator at the Jujols and Nohedes nature reserves, Wolf Network and Bear Network reporter, and affiliated with Charles Flahault and Frédéric Association, has been using this equipment since 2005 for personal use and in a naturalist context. These are the devices that catch the bear in the department and the wolf in the Aude.
Catalan mountain: an impressive view of the deer slab in the video
“I was one of the first to use them, I brought them from the USA. It took several years to see the original arrive in France.” In 2009/2010, Frédéric created his camera trap business.”I managed to get permission from brands and Americans to resell their equipment and provide after sales service. We were the first company to sell this type of equipment in France. The relationship was then naturally with stock No. 66 because I knew them. I even became a trainer on this type of material for structures such as the French Biodiversity Office.”
Significant quality evolution
In recent years, camera traps have undergone a very positive development for monitoring animal species. The hardware is more and more reliable. “There is a real improvement in terms of reliability and especially image quality. 15 years ago we could only have 5 megapixels in photos at most. Now some devices go up to 48 MP. Likewise, we’ve switched to 4K full HD files for video. This made it possible to bring this type of equipment to work on very specialized missions, for example, on micromammals. For example, the French Biodiversity Office is working on the common hamster in eastern France. A few years ago this would have been impossible as it was a small animal. Let’s not forget that the devices are triggered not only by movement, but also by the temperature difference between the ambient temperature and the area of the device.
The equipment allowed species to be monitored non-invasively, i.e. without really disturbing the fauna, and in extremely precise missions. “In our department, photo traps have made it possible to track cave birds such as Tengmalm’s owl. This can provide information to assess the condition of the young, the type of prey being brought back, or even the predation of certain mammal species.
When the bear played hide and seek in Aude and P.-O.
Use regulated by law
Camera traps are becoming increasingly popular. You should know that you cannot put a device on land without the consent of the owner or manager. “All the forests that we see with us in the country of Catalonia are definitely owned by someone, either privately or by the state through the ONF and state forests.” Frédéric Salgae explains. Devices installed without permission, for example in state forests, can be confiscated and violators can be fined. Therefore, permission is required and if possible in writing. As regards communal land, municipalities are not obliged to issue their own permits. If you install a device in your home, it cannot be directed onto a public highway. “It is absolutely forbidden to direct it to the neighbor’s property. You have to be very careful about this“A person using photographic traps, touching another person’s private life, filming, recording or transmitting his image is subject to the penalties provided for in Article 226-1 of the Criminal Code. punishable by one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros.