FotoFauna FAQs

Help build a larger network of wildlife cameras by observing the seasonal movements of Sky Island species in the U.S. and Mexico.

Have questions about FotoFauna? Check our project FAQ for answers! If you don’t see what you’re looking for, contact the project lead Zoe Fullem (zoe@skyislandalliance.org) with your query.

 


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Frequently Asked Questions

Camera Set-Up

What type of camera should I use for FotoFauna?

    What type of camera should I use for FotoFauna?

    FotoFauna accepts observations from any continuously operating camera that detects the motion and/or heat signature of animals. If you’d like recommendations on cameras, please read our blog: How to Find the Right Backyard Wildlife Camera for You

    Where can I buy a wildlife camera?

    We recommend buying your camera through TrailCamPro.com because their online camera reviews thoroughly describe the performance differences between various camera models. They quickly answer camera questions and are skilled at troubleshooting camera performance issues. Contact Zoe Fullem (zoe@skyislandalliance.org) to receive a TrailCamPro discount code for your FotoFauna camera purchase.

    Do I need to leave a camera in the same place or can I move it around each month?

    Cameras should be left in the same location for the entire monthly reporting period. To facilitate our study of changes over time, it is helpful to keep cameras in the same location for multiple seasons. However, as long as you report the actual camera location for the camera each month, then your data will help map the distribution of each species even if the camera location changes between months.

    Can I put a camera on land I don’t own?

    All cameras should be set up with explicit landowner permission and most public lands require research permits. We encourage you to place your camera on property you own.

    Something is wrong with my camera! How do I fix it?

    First, make sure the batteries are inserted correctly and have sufficient charge. The wrong type of batteries in the camera can also cause problems, so follow the manufacturer recommendations for types of batteries to use for your make and model. We have the best luck with lithium batteries in our cameras. Second, make sure that the memory card is formatted for your specific camera. For some camera models, deleting all the photos on the memory card through the camera itself will reformat the card. However, if there appears to be a non-fixable issue with your camera, please contact the company from which you purchased your camera as they often have warranties and can help you much better that we can!

    How do I retrieve photos from my camera?

    Please refer to our blog post How to Check Your Wildlife Camera for our advice on how to best check your camera. Make sure to bring fresh batteries and a separate memory card to replace the one currently storing photos!

    My camera’s batteries died, and the camera didn’t record for the full month. Can I still submit the data I have?

    Yes! In the form there is a question that asks if you have data for the full month. If you select no, you will be prompted to enter the actual dates the camera was operational during the month.

    I personally saw an animal and took a photo of it. Should I submit it this observation to FotoFauna?

    This checklist is only for wildlife camera photos that run continuously. However, please submit your photo to iNaturalist.org. Sky Island Alliance collects all data submitted to iNaturalist.org in our region through our Sky Island Nature Watch project. Your photo will help us document the amazing diversity of this region.

    I think I have a photo of one of the checklist species on my camera, but I’m not sure that I’ve identified it correctly. Should I submit it anyway?

    We will confirm the identification of any species submitted to FotoFauna; however, we recommend you first submit the photo to iNaturalist.org to quickly crowd source the identification of your species before submitting your checklist.

    My wildlife camera only takes videos. What do I do?

    After downloading the videos to your computer, find the best video for each species. Pause the video when the animal is in best focus, take a screenshot, and upload the image to our checklist form. It doesn’t have to be a beautiful photo, just clear enough that we can confirm the species identification.

    My camera recorded multiple visits by the species on the checklist during the month. Which observation do I submit?

    FotoFauna simply seeks to confirm whether each species on the checklist was present or absent near each camera location every month, regardless of how many times it was recorded. Chose the clearest photo available during the month for each species recorded and submit it, regardless of when during the month that particular observation occurred. If you have extra photos that are really awesome and worth sharing, there is space at the end of the checklist to submit additional photos!

    I have multiple cameras that I’d like to submit. What do I do?

    Please submit one checklist form per camera. In the camera information section, please include a description or name for each camera.

    I have multiple months of data I’d like to submit. What do I do?

    Please submit one checklist form per month. There is a field where you will indicate which month you are submitting the data for in the form. If you are only able to get to the camera every few months, you can submit a separate checklist for each of the months at once.

    I want to join FotoFauna, but don’t want to share the location of my camera. How will FotoFauna protect my information?

    All camera locations will be kept confidential to protect both the cameras from theft and the wildlife that are observed by the cameras. All mapped FotoFauna data will obscure the specific location information.

    I can only check my camera a couple times a year. Can I still submit data?

    Yes! Whenever you check your cameras, please submit a separate checklist form for each month of the data you’ve collected.

    I have a wildlife camera, but I don’t have time to analyze the photos myself or submit a checklist. Can my camera still be part of the FotoFauna network?

    Contact Zoe Fullem (zoe@skyislandalliance.org) to find out if there is another volunteer who can help process your observations.

    I don’t have a camera, but I want to help with FotoFauna. Is there a way for me to participate?

    Contact Zoe Fullem (zoe@skyislandalliance.org) to find out if there is a wildlife camera in your area that needs maintenance or photo processing.