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How Camera Traps Reveal the Mysteries of Nature

Candid Creatures

ROLAND KAYS


How Camera Traps Reveal the Mysteries of Nature

Candid Creatures

ROLAND KAYS

I

n Candid Creatures, the first major book to reveal the secret lives of animals through motion-sensitive game cameras, biologist Roland Kays has assembled over 600 remarkable photographs. Drawing from archives of millions of color and night-vision photographs collected by hundreds of researchers, Kays has selected images that show the unique perspectives of wildlife from throughout the world. Using these photos, he tells the stories of scientific discoveries that camera traps have enabled, such as living proof of species thought to have been extinct and details of predator-prey interactions. Each image captures a moment frozen in the camera’s flash as animals move through their wild habitats. Kays also discusses how scientists use camera traps to address conservation issues, creating solutions that allow humans and wild animals to coexist. More than just a collection of amazing animal pictures, the book’s text, maps, and illustrations work together to describe the latest findings in the fast-moving field of wildlife research. Candid Creatures is a testament to how the explosion of game cameras around the world has revolutionized the study of animal ecology. The powerful combination of pictures and stories of discovery will fascinate anyone interested in science, nature, wildlife biology, or photography. Roland Kays is the director of the Biodiversity Laboratory at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and a research associate professor at North Carolina State University. He is the coauthor of Mammals of North America.

ROLAND KAYS


A riveting collection of photographs that captures wild animals in their native habitats.


Tiger

Panthera tigris

CoNservaTioN sTaTus: Critically Endangered

An Indian tiger.

Camera traps have helped us learn more about tigers than any other animal. Tigers are the largest cat species in the world, as well as one of the most endangered. They are rare across their range and shy, making them difficult to study with direct observation. Furthermore, actually capturing and handling such a large predatory cat is dangerous to both the animal and the trappers. However, scientists can “capture” photographs of them patrolling their territories along roads and trails. Because each animal has a unique pattern of stripes, we can also identify individual animals in photos, enabling a booming field of tiger science in the past quarter century. Thus, camera trapping for tigers has not only helped us learn 14 C a n d i d C r e a t u r e s

more about their biology and conservation but also benefited dozens of other species around the world through the development of improved survey methods and analytical techniques. Tigers originally lived across most of Asia, from Russia to Iran, using dense tropical forests, arid grasslands, and even snowy temperate woodlands. Unfortunately, their range has collapsed and fractured to a remnant constellation of populations scattered across the continent. Human hunting is a big cause of this collapse. The black market wildlife trade drives much of the poaching, and there are also occasional retribution killings after tigers kill livestock or people. Outright habitat destruction is another © 2015 The Johns Hopkins University Press UNCORRECTED PROOF Do not quote for publication until verified with finished book. All rights reserved. No portion of this may be reproduced or distributed without permission. NOT FOR SALE OR DISTRIBUTION

big problem, as people replace nature in more and more of wild Asia. Camera traps have been critical for documenting exactly where tigers have disappeared from the forests and where they still survive and need increased protection. Their big size allows tigers to kill just about anything they can catch. Dozens of studies have turned up hundreds of potential prey species for tigers across their range, but on average, they obtain their daily food needs by killing various types of wild cattle, deer, and pigs. Larger prey are generally preferred since they produce more food per kill, but tiger diets vary from site to site. Tigers will adapt their behavior and activity patterns to target locally abundant species. For ex-


A trio of cubs represents the next generation of tigers in Russia.

A tiger pauses its patrol to overlook a village below its preserve in the  Terai Arc region of India. Conflict between people and tigers remains a  daily concern in many parts of their range.

Tigers are the only natural predator of Indian 

Tiger stalking a sambar deer in India.

Tigers will often drag or carry their prey to 

rhinoceroses, as illustrated by this tragic 

a secure hiding place to eat in peace. This 

battle between two endangered species in 

boar head won’t hold him over for long, as 

India’s Kaziranga National Park. In this case 

tigers eat 37 to 70 lb (17 to 32 kg) of meat in 

the tiger won.

a single day.

Acvity Level

ample, tigers are active at dusk and dawn in southern rainforests to match with small muntjac deer, but they are more active throughout the night in the Western Ghats of India, where they focus on the larger and more nocturnal sambar and gaur. Tigers are not longdistance runners; instead, they use cover to sneak up as close as possible to their quarry and then pounce after a short, intense chase.

Scientists found that rainforest tigers (solid line) adjust their activity patterns to match the  dusk-and-dawn pattern of muntjac (dashed line), one of their favorite prey.

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© 2015 The Johns Hopkins University Press UNCORRECTED PROOF Do not quote for publication until verified with finished book. All rights reserved. No portion of this may be reproduced or distributed without permission. NOT FOR SALE OR DISTRIBUTION

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PanaMa Canal islands

The weasel-like tayra was a surprise visitor to some very small islands, apparently swimming from the mainland to hunt the abundant rats.

164 C a n d i d C r e a t u r e s

Islands as Natural Experiments Islands are like test tubes for ecologists: they offer a carefully controlled experiment to test the effects of declining habitat on animal communities. Scientists led by Helen Esser used camera traps on a series of islands and peninsulas in Lake Gatun, part of the Panama Canal, to see how much rainforest habitat each mammal species required. They additionally tested how changes in the mammals affect other species by also sampling ticks at the exact same places. In total Esser sampled 12 forests that ranged 1,000-fold in size, from 5 to 7,000 acres (2 to 2,800 ha). Her cameras captured about 4,000 animal photos from 21 different species. As predicted, the diversity of terrestrial mammals decreased as islands got smaller, from 11 species at most mainland plots to just 2 species surviving on the smallest island. The largest

Š 2015 The Johns Hopkins University Press UNCORRECTED PROOF Do not quote for publication until verified with finished book. All rights reserved. No portion of this may be reproduced or distributed without permission. NOT FOR SALE OR DISTRIBUTION


(left) Ocelots were the most common predator in larger forests, where they hunt small and medium-sized prey, and are active mostly at night. (right) The collared peccary lives in groups, which swell to be larger in the wet season and fission off into smaller groups in the dry season.

The red brocket deer was very common on Barro Colorado Island, in the Panama Canal, but photographed less on the mainland, where it had to compete with more white-tailed deer.

mammals, such as deer, peccaries, and ocelots, were only found in the largest forests. Most medium-sized mammals were in large and medium-sized islands, but they disappeared in the smallest islands, where only spiny rats and armadillos could survive. Tick diversity declined on smaller islands at the same rate as the mammals. Specialist ticks, those that feed on only one species of mammal, disappeared from places where their host could not survive, leaving generalist ticks A n i m A l n e i g h b o r h o o d WAtc h

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Candid Creatures How Camera Traps Reveal the Mysteries of Nature

Roland Kays Publication date: May 2016 9 x 11, 272 pages 604 color photographs, 12 color illustrations, 72 maps, 22 graphs 978-1-4214-1888-9

$39.95 / ÂŁ26.00 hardcover

Also available as an e-book

Sales queries: Kerry Cahill Sales Director 410-516-6936 kpc@press.jhu.edu Media queries: Gene Taft Publicity Manager 410-516-4162 gat@press.jhu.edu

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JHUP Kays Booklet  

The first major book to reveal the secret lives of animals through motion-sensitive game cameras. Biologist Roland Kays has assembled over 6...

JHUP Kays Booklet  

The first major book to reveal the secret lives of animals through motion-sensitive game cameras. Biologist Roland Kays has assembled over 6...