Huai Kha Khaeng: A camera trap saga

Friday, April 6, 2012posted by Bruce 1:59 PM

Thailand’s amazing forest with some beautiful, elusive and rare Asian creatures

Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in central western Thailand, and is a World Heritage Site. It is the top protected area in the Kingdom. In January 2012, I began a camera trap program to determine the status of wildlife found here. In just a short two months, all the large mammals including elephant, gaur, banteng, tapir, tiger, leopard and many others have been caught by ‘homebrew’ digital camera traps set at various mineral deposits, water holes and game trails situated in the interior of the sanctuary. I have ten trail cams working through till March 31st, 2012. These are the best series. The following photos shows this amazing biodiversity, and this place is truly worthy of its ‘World Heritage Site’ status.

Set-up Number 1: A S600/1010/SSI was set above a water hole close to a ranger station. This cam turned out the most wildlife photos over a two month period. This mineral deposit and waterhole is visited daily by many animals and is one of the best in the sanctuary.

A Sony S600/Pelican 1010/SSI in an ‘Elephant proof ‘ box with a ‘Python’ locking cable

Mature female tiger

Tiger follow-up shot

Young tusker elephant in a herd

Tusker close-up

Tusker about-face

Mature gaur bull

Mature banteng bull

Younger banteng bulls

Mature banteng cow

Banteng cow close-up

Macaque monkey

Camera trapper

Set-up Number 2: Another S600/1010/SSI was set close to the ranger station and a bag of large rotten fish heads was strung up to prevent being taken by a scavenger like a water monitor. Amazingly, a leopard and a big wild boar, both scavengers, came to the bait. The bag can be seen in the boar picture. Boy did it smell..!

S600/1010/SSI in ‘elephant proof’ box with python locking cable.

Leopard male in the stream attracted by the ‘fish head’ bait.

Wild boar hoping for some carrion.

A crab-eating mongoose in the stream after the bait had been cut down.

Set-up Number 3: An old Sony S600/1040/BFOutdoors/2 ‘C’ cell externals in an ‘elephant proof’ box and ‘Python’ locking cable with 3D camouflage was used to catch this tiger mother and her cub (also caught by Bushnell Trophy Cam video twenty meters away). Other shots collected from this cam were deer at night not included here.

Sony S600 in a Pelican 1040 and BFOutdoors board with 2 ‘C’ cell externals

Tiger mother caught close to Subkaow mineral deposit and water hole

‘Eye of a tiger’ as this young cub has a chew on the cam…remarkable shot…!

Set-up Number 4: An older S600 with a Yeticam board in a 2nd generation LBK aluminum boxed cam plus tools for installation. Tiger, tapir and a sambar stag came along this trail about a day’s walk from the ranger station I stay at. This site will be covered by long-range cams with ‘C’ and ‘D’ cell externals for a three-four month period during the rainy season.

Old 2nd generation LBK trail cam in an ‘elephant proof’

housing firmly bolted to a tree with a ‘Python cable and 2 lag bolts.

Rear-end of a tiger along a game trail

Asian tapir at night

Tapir up-close and checking out the cam

‘Eye of a tapir’….not as dramatic as a tiger’s eye..but OK for government work..!

A mature sambar stag, Thailand’s largest cervid

Note: I still have more then ten trail cams working here at the moment including my new Canon DSLR 400D with three wireless flashes, and two of my new W55s. I will also be setting up a homebrew video very soon. I surely will be posting many more camera trap photos of this truly wonderful and magical wildlife sanctuary in the near future.

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