'Stealth' cameras help foresters to protect rare habitats from deer and wild boar
By using the 'stealth' cameras Forestry Commission Wales is hoping to gather vital information on the animals' spread and help it to protect rare habitats from the effects of damaging browsing.
The specialised cameras have been set up all over Wales in areas where there is evidence of deer or wild boar movement, especially in Glasfynydd in the Brecon Beacons near Usk, Coed-y-Brenin near Dolgellau, the Lower Wye Valley and Radnor forest areas.
David Jam, Wales Silvicultural Operations Wildlife Management Officer, said,
"By using the cameras to constantly monitor an area for up to six months we are gathering data every day without physically driving to visit areas and undertaking survey work. It's like having extra members of the team working full time on surveys for us."
The cameras will be a vital tool to help deliver the Strategy for Wild Deer Management in Wales, published recently by FC Wales in partnership with the Welsh Government, Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) and the Deer Initiative.
Although wild deer are not as numerous or widespread in Wales as in other parts of the UK, their numbers and spread are increasing, along with their impact.
The cameras have confirmed the extent of red deer in the Brecon Beacons as well as feral wild boar in the Lower Wye Valley, providing valuable information on which woodlands they were using and when they were using them.
If the images from the cameras confirm the presence of deer, this can be followed up with physical visits to carry out more detailed surveys into the impacts on trees and ground flora.
As well as the damage to native flora, agricultural crops and trees, deer can also cause road traffic accidents.