Rocha, D. G., Ramalho, E. E., & Magnusson, W. E. (2016). Baiting for carnivores might negatively affect capture rates of prey species in camera-trap studies. Journal of Zoology, 300(3), 205–212.
Surveying and monitoring of elusive animals with naturally low densities and large home ranges, such as many medium- and large-sized mammals, is challenging. Low capture rates can preclude detailed analyses. The use of bait has been used as a strategy to increase carnivore capture rates in many camera-trap surveys. Here, we test the effect of one carnivore bait type (mix of fresh sardine and egg) on the capture rates of carnivores and prey species in a camera-trap survey in the Central Brazilian Amazon. We also test if the quality of records of naturally marked felids for individual identification is enhanced by the use of bait. We found that the bait had no apparent effect on the carnivore capture rates, but it might have repelled some prey species. The number of suitable photos for individual identification of naturally marked felids was greater at baited stations than at unbaited stations, but this did not result in practical advantages for individual identification. We recommend that the use of carnivore bait should be carefully considered at the planning stage of camera-trap studies as it can negatively affect recording of prey species.