The configuration, components, specifications and costs of a state-of-the-art closed-circuit television system with wide application for wildlife research and management are described. The principal system components consist of color CCTV camera with zoom lens, pan/tilt system, infrared illuminator, heavy duty tripod, coaxial cable, coaxitron system, half-duplex equalizing video/control amplifier, timelapse video cassette recorder, color video monitor, VHS video cassettes, portable generator, fuel tank and power cable. This system was developed and used in a study of Mississippi sandhiIl Crane (Grus canadensis pratensis) behaviors during incubation, hatching and fledging. The main advantages of the system are minimal downtime where a complete record of every event, its time of occurrence and duration, are permanently recorded and can be replayed as many times as necessary thereafter to retrieve the data. The system is particularly applicable for studies of behavior and predation, for counting individuals, or recording difficult to observe activities. The system can be run continuously for several weeks by two people, reducing personnel costs. This paper is intended to provide biologists who have litte knowledge of electronics with a system that might be useful to their specific needs. The disadvantages of this system are the initial costs (about $9800 basic, 1990-1991 U.S. dollars) and the time required to playback video cassette tapes for data retrieval, but the playback can be sped up when litte or no activity of interest is taking place. In our study, the positive aspects of the system far outweighed the negative.
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A 24-hour remote surveillance system for terrestrial wildlife studies