Stealth cameras capture wild boar to save trees and flora

Tree experts are using stealth cameras to capture infrared images of wild boar and deer roaming Welsh woodlands at dead of night.

Infra-red images of two deer at night - Image: FCW
Infra-red images of two deer at night - Image: FCW

The cameras, hidden on trees and triggered by movement, are helping Forestry Commission Wales mount round-the-clock surveillance.

A spokesman said the animals caused damage to trees and ground flora, vulnerable habitats and agriculture if left unmanaged.

"The cameras will provide vital information on the animals’ spread and help experts protect plants and rare habitats from the effects of damaging browsing."

Specialist Reconyx cameras capture still photographs as beasts roam public woodlands at night. They also record video clips to monitor their habits.

Wild boars and deer have caused extensive damage to trees in Glasfynydd, the Brecon Beacons, Coed-y-Brenin in the Lower Wye Valley and Radnor forest areas.

David Jam, Wales Silvicultural Operations wildlife-management officer, said, "These cameras save many thousands of man hours and a huge amount of vehicle mileage.

"They act as a silent observer, detecting and recording any living thing that passes their infrared beam."

"By monitoring an area for up to six months we are gathering data every day without physically driving to areas and undertaking survey work.

"It’s like having extra members of the team working full-time for us and is a great example of how technology makes our work more effective and reduces costs."

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