Did you Know?
  • The Ghaf tree (Prosopis cineraria) is extremely drought resistant and its roots can go down to 30 metres, enabling it to reach the water table in the DDCR

Camera Trap Survey of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve


As many species within desert environments are both nocturnal and elusive, it is difficult to gather reliable information on their populations. A camera trap is a camera that triggers when an animal passes in front of an infrared and motion detector. This has the advantage of detecting, with equal efficiency, both nocturnal and diurnal activities while having minimal environmental disturbance. The camera trap survey aims at recording the presence (or absence) of elusive and nocturnal species, in particular the smaller carnivores, within the DDCR.


  • To collect photographic records from the deployed camera traps that can be used for analysis to establish species distribution and population size of the target species; Arabian Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes arabica), Sand Fox (Vulpes ruepelli), Gordon’s Wildcat (Felis silvestris gordoni) and Sand cat (Felis margarita).
  • Determine which feral species are present and where are they concentrated.
  • Identify and document all species recorded by the camera traps.


  • Nine camera traps, five Reconyx Rapid Fire and four Bushnell Trophy Cams, are deployed from the November 2010 until November 2011, into the five habitat types across the DDCR; Gravel Plains, Sandy Plains, Vegetated Sand Dunes, Shifting Sand Dunes and Rocky outcrop.
  • Data, which includes photographs as well as date and time of the event, is collected from the camera traps every fortnightly. At the same time the locations are baited to attract the target species.
  • The photographs are classified according content and species, if any animal was recorded. These classifications are then added to a spreadsheet with the other data, location, date and time.

Expected Output

  • The establishment of either the presence or absence of the target species within the DDCR.
  • Through statistical analysis of the data collected an estimation of the population size of the target species.
  • On the basis of the data collected from the camera traps, maps of the record species distribution and density across the reserve.
  • Habitat preference of all recorded species as well as information on patterns of activity of these species.