From the Field

Camera Trapping in the Australian Desert

When trying to drink out of a tiny waterhole, camels hit approximately a 9.5 on a scale from 1 to Exceptionally Awkward. And now thanks to camera trap data, you can watch camels, kangaroos, dingoes and emus from the heart of Australia take a drink at remote desert waterholes.

In July 2016, scientists from The Nature Conservancy traveled to Martu country in Western Australia as part of a waterhole health monitoring study. Led by Eddie Game, the lead scientist for Asia Pacific, they worked with rangers from the cultural organization Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa to deploy camera traps next to remote desert waterholes to better understand how non-native camels affect waterhole health and water availability.

Check out the video above to watch the best camera trap data from three waterholes on country, and read more about the science behind the images here.

Justine E. Hausheer

Justine E. Hausheer is an award-winning science writer for The Nature Conservancy, covering the innovative research conducted by the Conservancy’s scientists in the Asia Pacific region. She has a degree from Princeton University and a master's in Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting from New York University. Justine's favorite stories take her into pristine forests, desolate deserts, or far-flung islands to report on field research as it's happening. When not writing, you can find her traipsing after birds, attempting to fish, and exploring the wild places around her home in Brisbane, Australia. More from Justine

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5 comments

  1. I WAS UNAWARE THAT THERE ARE CAMELS IN AUSTRALIAN DESERT .

    FASCINATING TO SEE , SO THANKS FOR THE VIDEO

  2. Great filming from the outback. Could not identify the black canine(?), white-tipped tail? Yes, the camels are wonderfully clumsy in efforts to get to water (last one looked like it was doing yoga pose).

  3. My question is: Where did the camels come from? They are not indigenous to Australia, are they? If not, how did they get there?

  4. This is really wonderful to see. Animals in Nature is amazing and wonderful. That camel looked very thin, i hope he or she is OK. The Dingos are so cute, they really are dogs. Too bad they became “wild” when they roamed freely and kept breeding. They should be looked after and cared for. They are the original dogs of the Aborigines.

  5. Wonderful to see the results of the efforts of the Nature Conservancy. Great footage of the wildlife. Thank you all for caring and the work you do.