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CIG Projects in the PIA: Wireless Remote Trapping

Wireless Remote Trapping for the Effective Control of Feral Ungulates in the Preservation and Protection of Native Forest and Key Watershed Areas

Grantee: The Nature Conservancy

This purpose of this project is to develop a wireless remote feral ungulate trapping and monitoring system in The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Wainiha preserve and Alaka‘i plateau on the Island of Kaua‘i. Feral ungulates pose a major threat to forest health. The resulting damage to forest plants and soils promotes alien plant invasions and contributes to soil erosion and stream sedimentation. TNC’s system will allow resource managers to monitor ungulate activity throughout their preserves and around deactivated traps during the pre-baiting period; activate traps to begin catching pigs; and monitor trap success; all without requiring staff or helicopter time to physically visit the remote trap location. This technology will significantly reduce the costs associated with maintaining ungulate traps in remote areas by eliminating the need to visit the traps for any reasons other than removing trapped animals and re-filling the automated feeders. The U.S. Army Department of Public Works at Schofield Barracks on Oahu has developed a similar type of system to monitor pig traps on Mount Kaala, alerting staff to changes in trap status through the use of cell phone coverage. TNC will take the technology one step further and use radio repeaters installed on ridges to transmit ungulate activity and trap status data in non-cell phone covered areas. Kaua‘i Program staff have been monitoring feral ungulates in the proposed trapping areas during the past year through the use of tracking collars, on-the-ground scouting activities, and cameras set to monitor game trails and strategically placed silo traps. The addition of this technology to our current monitoring techniques will allow for more efficient use of staff time and conservation resources. This technology can be easily incorporated into other ungulate control programs throughout the state, as well as nationally and internationally, helping managers make the best use of financial resources for conservation efforts.