One of the methods we are using for our census is scent stations, surrounded by swept sand. The idea is that any animals passing by will stop to sniff the scent pad, thereby leaving their tracks in the sand to be recorded. In the middle of the scent stations we place a pad soaked in fermented egg, which to us really is as bad as it sounds, but the wildlife and the canids in particular seem to find it irresistible. At each site we have a central scent station with the egg mixture, and on either side is a carpet pad hair snare that is laced with a different scent. The scents were are using here are perfume, fish oil, and catnip.
A scent station with hairsnare:
The problems we are finding is that many of the methods we are trying out are designed in places where the wildlife is perhaps less destructive than it is here. We have had elephants coming in and trashing our sites, Brown Hyaenas eating the whole scent pad, and of course the much discussed birds obliterating the previous nights tracks before we can get there to record them.
A hairsnare attached to a tree:
Mishaps aside, the method is looking promising, and I am particularly keen on it as it is cheap, repeatable easily and has very low impact on the animals themselves. A perfect combination!