Trail Cameras Stolen from HSU Student Studying Wildlife at the Arcata Marsh

Game camera

Someone stole three trail cameras that look like the photo above from a Humboldt State student gathering information on wildlife. She wrote us,

I’m a Wildlife senior at HSU, conducting my senior thesis on animals inhabiting the Arcata Marsh. Recently (April 4), 3 of my 6 trail cameras were stolen from where they were concealed along the trails. These have vital information on them for my thesis, as well as being important property belonging to the university. I’ve been updated that whoever stole them had a metal detector. If you or anyone you know has any information on the cameras or who may have taken them, I am NOT looking to press charges, I really just need the cameras back and the data on them. PLEASE notify me [cmp986@humboldt.edu] or APD so they can update the case file. Feel free to spread the word so I may get them back!
Thank you so much

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7 comments

  • This article sadly once again proves my theory of anything that might possibly be of value, isn’t nailed down tightly or otherwise secured majorly to some immovable object some Methhead or some other type of lowlife will steal it!!! Here’s hoping he finds his (the Univesity’s) cameras soon & in working condition!!!

  • I hope you get those camera’s back and your data. All your work I’m so sorry. Someone will find them. Good luck

  • Sucks. I do some mammal surveys using cameras. I found rule #1 with field equipment is that you can count on losing a lot, at least a portion being vandalized or stolen. You can put a sign that cameras are there for a study, and people will still shoot them. Something about the Emerald Triangle that makes people shoot cameras in the forest, I wonder what that is… You got to be really good at covering your tracks when you go off trail to set a camera. Also the cameras fail a lot on their own, so you never get as much data as you expect. Should be taught in that Wildlife Techniques class. I expect these could be in the bottom of one of the ponds.

    The only thing to do is to use cameras that are password protected or armored in a case that is bolted or cable locked to something (I use Master Lock Pythons). This way it is more of a hassle for them to steal them (they still do), and more of a hassle for them to use them or sell afterwards. I once put a radio transmitter that a friend gave me in one to track it if it got stolen, but of course due to Murphy’s Law, nobody stole that one. I’ve also rigged up cheap plastic 1-shot film cameras. No big deal if you lose a few of those. They have nifty ones now you can connect to a cell network, expensive as hell but you may be able to track them, have all your data automatically on a cloud server, or at least take remote pictures of the inside of the tweaker’s car.

    Advice for the Student – Sit down with the professor and go over a contingency for your project. It is not the end of the world, unintended consequences happen to a lot of students on their Senior Thesis, especially when you get busy with all the other coursework in other classes. In all due candor, whoever reviewed and signed off on the project proposal, I assume it was a grad student, should have noted there would be a high likelyhood of the cameras getting messed with (a good reviewer would have that in mind regardless of the project, something always happens and that harms the sample size/statistics). That is their job as a university-paid teacher’s assistant, to help students learn about and avoid situations like this, especially well-meaning but naive (no offense on the naive part, I mean this in the sense of when doing something like this you are 100% focused on getting an A on the project, not assholes stealing your cameras, and you don’t have the real-world experience that brings wisdom in experimental design, but are now getting it) students that are just learning the equipment and have a higher risk of something going wrong. I’ll give you more homework – Read Hurlbert’s 1984 paper on Pseudoreplication, and what he says about ‘demonic intrusion’ in science. Also I hope you have no financial responsibility to these, although they use that as a threat for you to take better care of them. I bet the stock room has other ways of reimbursing themselves, insurance or already has replacement costs in their budget. It will be an excuse for them to buy better, more secure cameras (Never used one, but I hear Stealth Cams are kind of shitty and relatively inexpensive).

    I know… TL;DR, good luck!

  • With all due respect, if they were placed in a public park, how were they exactly “stolen?” I’m not saying this is right but wouldn’t you think there would be a possibility of this happening? Hope they turn up.

  • Many animals hate the surveillance. Raccoons have probably stowed them in wood rat nests.

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