Scaling Up Camera Trap Surveys to Inform Regional Wildlife Conservation

  • Start Date: May 18, 2021
  • End Date: May 20, 2021
  • City: Kimberley BC
  • Venue: Kimberley Conference Centre
  • The event has been rescheduled (for the second time) to spring 2021


PHOTOS: Remote Camera Trap images, Cole Burton


Conference description

The exponential growth in the use of camera traps (aka remote cameras, trail cams) is revolutionizing wildlife monitoring. Improvements and cost-reductions in camera trap technology, advances in statistical and computing methods for analysis, and a growing awareness of the need to monitor wildlife across large spatial and temporal scales, are all leading to increasing use of this powerful tool. Hundreds of thousands of cameras are being deployed to survey wildlife around the world, including many thousands deployed in western Canada by academic researchers, government and industry practitioners, and citizen scientists. This growth in sampling has the potential to transform our understanding of the ecology of terrestrial vertebrate wildlife, and inform their conservation and management at regional scales. However, the dizzying pace of growth in camera trap methodology can temper this potential, creating confusion or disjunction in implementation. The emergence of global and regional camera-trap networks is aiming to improve standardization and coordination among surveys, but the success of these networks will depend on effective communication and collaboration among researchers and practitioners.

This conference will address key questions in the development and application of camera trap methods. By showcasing established and emerging case studies, the conference will be a forum for sharing lessons on fundamental topics such as sampling design, data management and analysis, and multi-project collaboration. It will be an excellent opportunity for scientists, managers, students, and citizen scientists to network and learn about current thinking on the science and application of camera trapping for wildlife ecology and management. All presenters are asked to reflect upon and share lessons learned that can inform future surveys and/or management applications, particularly at large spatial scales.

Day 1 and 2 of this event will include an incredible line-up of speakers and poster presentations addressing various aspects of camera trapping, a panel discussion, as well as workshops focused on coordination and standardization of key aspects of camera surveys such as sampling design, camera protocols, and data management and analysis. A list of speakers and workshop descriptions is below. On day 3 of this event there will be an optional field trip, description below.



Keynote & Invited speakers

Jorge A. Ahumada, Senior Wildlife conservation scientist & Executive Director – Wildlife Insights. Moore Centre for Science, Conservation International, Arlington, VA, USA.

Senior conservation professional with more than 20 years of experience in environmental science, conservation, and management of large diverse programs in Latin America and globally. Jorge is known for his design and implementation of multi-institutional partnership collaborations with governments, non-government organizations, and companies. Jorge has a deep passion for nature and wildlife, he looks forward to connecting with us and sharing his depth of knowledge and experience with the use of camera trap networks for wildlife conservation. He will present a talk titled “How a new technology platform can put camera trap data to work for conservation.”


Roland Kays, BSc, PhD, Research Associate Professor, North Carolina State University, Head of the Biodiversity Lab,  NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Referred to fondly as “Mr. Camera Trap,” Roland is a zoologist with a broad interest in ecology and conservation, especially of mammals. He studies research questions that are scientifically interesting but also have real-world relevance through educational or conservation value. Roland is an expert in using new technologies to study free-ranging animals, especially to track their movement with GPS tags and camera traps. He combines this high-tech work with traditional methods, collecting data through field work and studies of museum collections.


The speakers below were invited to highlight work taking place in the region, abstracts may be found here.

  • Cole Burton, PhD, Canada Research Chair in Terrestrial Mammal Conservation, University of British Columbia, WildCo Lab. Scaling up insights from camera trapping in western Canada with the WildCAM network
  • Emily Chow & Holger Bohm, BC FLNRORD. Kootenay remote camera wildlife monitoring project
  • Kim Dawe, PhD, Quest University Canada. Monitoring dynamics of mammal intensity of use in outdoor recreation hot spots in the Sea to Sky Corridor
  • Jason Fisher, BScH, MSc, PhD, Adjunct Professor, University of Victoria. The Changing Face of Mammal Communities on the East Slopes of the Rocky Mountains
  • Virgil Hawkes, BSc, MSc, LGL Limited. Using camera traps to assess wildlife occurrence and distribution in Alberta’s oil sands region

See HERE for the full presenter list! 

NOTE: While all keynote and invited speakers have confirmed availability for the new event date in May 2021, we are still waiting to hear back from a number of the other speakers on the speaker list posted above. When we have a better idea of who is and is not able to attend, we’ll update the list above. 



Two optional workshops will be provided in the second day of this conference facilitated by members of WildCAM Network and the University of British Columbia. Descriptions are below, we will ask delegates to indicate their interest in participating in these free workshops upon registration to assist with our event planning. Workshops offered on a first come first serve basis.

Workshop #1: Camera trap data management for effective analysis and collaboration

As the number of camera traps being deployed in the field is increasing rapidly, practitioners and researchers must learn how to best organize and interrogate the data they produce. This is particularly true if the data are to be shared with other stakeholders, projects, and/or organisations. However, the options available for the identification and organization of camera trap data are at times bewildering. In this workshop we briefly present the data management options available, then focus on a simple data management template/workflow which is applicable for data generated using any data management software. Finally, we provide generic R code to generate commonly summary statistics which will allow you to explore and understand your camera trap data.

This workshop will be of use to any individual or organization using camera traps to collect information on wildlife populations. Although no prior experience in R is required, a basic understanding of R and R Studio would be highly beneficial. Workshop will be approximately 2.5hrs in length

Facilitated by Christopher Beirne, WildCo lab Post-doc, UBC


Workshop #2: Working group on data sharing  & collaboration

The use of coordinated research networks can help ecologists make large-scale assessments of how wildlife are affected by changes in land use or climate. The development of extensive camera trap networks is often not feasible however, because of limitations in funding and personnel. In an effort to facilitate large-scale and collaborative camera trap data collection across Western Canada, we created WildCAM (Wildlife Cameras for Adaptive Management), a grassroots network of camera trap researchers and conservation practitioners. In this workshop, we will provide an overview of WildCAM and our goals for the network, and discuss how individual camera trap studies can contribute. Attendees will learn how they can join WildCAM and contribute data. They also will have the opportunity to share their own research priorities and discuss how these can be addressed by the WildCAM network.

This workshop will be of interest to anyone using camera traps in BC or Alberta with an interest in joining this collaborative network. Workshop will be approx 1hr in length

Facilitated by Alys Granados, WildCo Lab postdoc, UBC


Field Trip

An option to participate in a field trip on the third day of this event, 8am – 3pm at no extra cost.


Setting up a camera study can be a daunting task. On this field trip, we will visit sites related to two different camera projects in the East Kootenay: the Kootenay Remote Cameras Wildlife Monitoring Project and the Wildlife Monitoring in Kootenay Wildfires: Salvage Logged and Unlogged. These two projects were set up to measure different metrics (occupancy vs density). We will visit camera sites for both projects and chat about differences in site selection, deployment protocols, and how these relate to project objectives. In addition, we will talk about lessons learned about coordinating field work and using volunteers to maintain cameras.

Field trip leaders:

Emily Chow, BC FLNRORD

Meghan Anderson, BC FLNRORD


Who should attend this conference?

CMI conferences attract people from a variety of disciplines and professions. This conference will inform scientists, ecologists, managers, government decision-makers, and community members (e.g., hunters, naturalists). Additionally, this conference will be of use to post-secondary students currently studying, or who have an interest in studying, the monitoring, ecology, or management of terrestrial vertebrate wildlife.


Our event partners & sponsors

Columbia Mountains Institute is pleased to work with these agencies in hosting this event: WildCAM Network, University of British Columbia, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, University of Victoria, and LGL Limited. We also thank Wildlife Insights for their support.


We thank the Columbia Basin Trust, Teck Resources Ltd and LGL Limited for their financial support of this event.


Member: $295*

Non-member: $340

Student $160

*Individual memberships are $40 annually and can be purchased within the registration form.

Registration includes all conference sessions and workshops, catered coffee breaks, and buffet lunches.

Registration for workshops will be first come first serve, workshops are offered at no additional cost.

CMI bursary for non-profits and others: If you would like to attend but do not have the budget allowance for registration costs we may be able to help. You may send an email to Hailey at explaining your situation and request financial assistance.

Register HERE


Where to stay

We have set up a discounted room block at the Trickle Creek LodgeThis lodge is on-site and will take you just a few mins to walk to the event at the Kimberley Conference Centre. All rooms include a kitchenette. Note that at this time of year there are not any decent breakfast options on site, so pan to bring your own or give yourself enough time to go into the town site of Kimberley for breakfast (~8min drive).

When booking, note that you are with CMI to get the discounted rates. For rates and booking instructions, see HERE.




  • Phone 250-837-9311
  • Fax 250-837-9311
  • Email

Mailing Address

  • P.O. Box 2568
  • Revelstoke, British Columbia V0E 2S0
Content © Columbia Mountains Institute of Applied Ecology
Site by Perimeter  •  Updated by CMIAE  •  LOGIN