Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

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Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby krobert » Sat 07 Jan, 2017 12:15 pm

We hope someone may have stumbled across five of our research cameras and taken them down with good intentions. We have filed a lost property report with Mt Beauty police and would really love to get them back. Our research is on the endangered Guthega skink and the data collected by the cameras are extremely valuable to the project (2 weeks of data were recorded on the cameras prior to them being removed). All research is approved by Parks Victoria and being completed with DELWP wildlife research permits.

The 5 cameras were on the Bogong High Plains road at Langfords East (UTM UPS: 0526101 5915961), and I've attached a photo of how they were set up (see below). The labels on the cameras read:
'You have stumbled across one of my cameras. These cameras have been deployed throughout the area to record the predation frequencies of birds on lizard models with various patterns. Please refrain from touching the cameras or models. If you have any questions about my research, feel free to give me a call –
Rhys Makdissi (0430393886) Permit number: 10008127 '

If anyone has seen the cameras or know where they currently are we would be extremely grateful for any information that may lead to their return. They can be returned to Mt Beauty police or mailed to La Trobe University, Department of Ecology, Environment & Evolution, Kingsbury Drive, Bundoora VIC 3086 (NO QUESTIONS ASKED & A REWARD of $1,000 IS ON OFFER).
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Research cameras
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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby Xplora » Sat 07 Jan, 2017 1:05 pm

Thanks for posting this. Unfortunately a number of the trail cameras installed for the deer control program have been lifted as well. Apart from being very expensive to replace, the information loss (as noted) is significant. It is sad but the area where your cameras have been installed is quite busy. Most bushwalkers will respect your research and property but those encouraged to this area now are not necessarily so minded. I am sure you meant to say you have filed a 'stolen property report'. My only suggestion is for you to find another location to install them if one is available and make it well away from local tourist traffic.
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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby krobert » Sat 07 Jan, 2017 1:25 pm

Thanks Xplora. We got thinking that hunters involved with the deer control may have taken them given they know their value and have a use for them rather than bushwalkers but we are trying all avenues to try and recover them. We are not using this site anymore due to the high traffic. The police did not want us to file a 'stolen property report' at this stage hence the lost property report.
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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby Moondog55 » Sat 07 Jan, 2017 3:25 pm

Make them do the job they get paid for
Insist on a Stolen Property report
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby sambar358 » Sat 07 Jan, 2017 6:42 pm

It's disappointing for me to read here that the OP and Xplorer are blaming the volunteer hunters who are assisting Parks Vic with their deer control programs for the theft of these research cameras. The assumption here seems to be that "deer hunters are thieves and bush walkers can do no wrong".......any evidence to support the claims that deer hunters pinched these cameras fellas ?

Now why would the volunteer hunters risk their on-going involvement in this unique program by stealing these cameras ? Keep in mind that these volunteer hunters have gone through a pretty rigorous training and accreditation program at their cost to participate, they travel often long distances to Falls Creek again at their cost for the cull exercises and use their own time, work RDO's or their own weekends to assist Parks Vic with this program. So why would they put all this at risk to flog a few trail cameras that clearly belong to some research program ? I know that several of these volunteer hunters have also purchased very expensive NV equipment costing thousands of dollars specifically to use in these exercises because Parks couldn't afford to.......yet now they as a group are being branded as thieves !

Get the blinkers off fellas.....the reality is that these research cameras were unsecured, set up in the open in an admitted "high usage" area......obviously meaning that lots of people use those areas at this time of the year. So by implication anyone could have pinched them really.......Falls and the surrounding high country would be crawling with tourists at this time of the year and there'd be a few light-fingered ones among them I would imagine who wouldn't give a second thought to liberating a "lost" research camera......or five. I note that Xplora has stated in his post that "MOST bush walkers will respect your research and property"......so an element of doubt there too it seems. Cheers

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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby highercountry » Sat 07 Jan, 2017 7:37 pm

My first thought was of a locally renowned thief from Benambra who wears a big black hat and sometimes runs trail rides up on the plains.
Mind you, the place is crawling with wannabe cowboy bogans at this time of the year.
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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby johnk1 » Sat 07 Jan, 2017 8:06 pm

I agree with sambar358, the guys doing deer culls go through plenty to do what they are doing and would not jeopardise it.

It could have been anyone and unfortunately in this day and age there are a lot of people that don't respect others property.

I hope you get your cameras back.

JK
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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby krobert » Sun 08 Jan, 2017 2:44 pm

Sorry Sambar358, was not intending to put blame on anyone. As I originally stated, and the reason they have not been reported "stolen" is that we thought they had been taken down with good intentions. When I mentioned hunters possibly taking them, I didn't mean to imply stolen, we actually thought they may have been picked up by someone thinking they were was part of the deer cull work.
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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby sambar358 » Sun 08 Jan, 2017 3:15 pm

Unfortunately I'd think that these research cameras have been stolen as it'd be unlikely that anyone coming across them and reading the attached note as per the OP would do anything but leave them where they were.......if they were honest that is. The note to potential discoverers clearly states the intent of the set-up and asks that the camera be left alone and undisturbed.......the fact that they weren't to me indicates that they've been stolen. And to "come across" all 5 and remove them to me shows some intent was involved to look for others after the 1st was removed.......but being out in the open and pretty obvious like the pic in the opening post, that might not have taken too much effort at all.

Unfortunate, annoying, frustrating and an expensive loss no-doubt......but these days there always seems to be people about who are only too keen to help themselves to other peoples property and not give it a second thought. Keep an eye on Gumtree & Ebay as they might be put up for sale......and maybe contact the distributor of those cameras and explain the situation as they may be contacted by someone claiming to have "lost their instructions" so that they can get their trail cameras up and working again ! Good luck with it and cheers.

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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby krobert » Sun 08 Jan, 2017 4:01 pm

Thanks Sambar358,
We have 80 cameras out so I guess we can be thankful that we have only lost 5. Unfortunately the nature of the species we are studying means they need to be in exposed locations and we try to place them away from tracks. Thanks for the idea of contacting distributors in case they get contacted for instruction books.
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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby Xplora » Mon 09 Jan, 2017 5:12 am

krobert wrote: The police did not want us to file a 'stolen property report' at this stage hence the lost property report.

Go to another Police Station. This is wrong. They have been stolen. Certainly not lost which is when you have misplaced them but I can see some sort of reason from the Police.
highercountry wrote:My first thought was of a locally renowned thief from Benambra who wears a big black hat and sometimes runs trail rides up on the plains.
Mind you, the place is crawling with wannabe cowboy bogans at this time of the year.

He does not ride up there much anymore and I am pretty sure he does not have a permit to lead tours on BHP. There are only 2 licenced tour operators in the area now that I know of. I know plenty of people who ride on the High Plains and I would not describe them as bogans or wannabe cowboys. I don't think of myself that way either and I would be riding up there in 2 weeks with a group if my horse was not lame. There are of course bogans and wannabe's in all user groups including bushwalking. Maybe less bogans in bushwalking but plenty of wannabe's.
Not sure if we can lay blame on any particular group as the entire place is crawling with people from all backgrounds.

sambar358 wrote:It's disappointing for me to read here that the OP and Xplorer are blaming the volunteer hunters who are assisting Parks Vic with their deer control programs for the theft of these research cameras. The assumption here seems to be that "deer hunters are thieves and bush walkers can do no wrong".......any evidence to support the claims that deer hunters pinched these cameras fellas ?


I certainly did not mention or imply deer hunters took these cameras. I only indicated the deer cull program had lost a couple of cameras as well. Opportunistic thieves are everywhere but I would say those who value the environment are more likely to respect others property as well. Apology accepted in advance. Still mates. Hope you received the email I sent at your request.
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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby stry » Mon 09 Jan, 2017 6:17 am

Another vote for STOLEN not "lost".

It's often surprising what is found by police when stopping a vehicle. "Stolen" will have a better chance of making it's way to a list somewhere than "Lost"
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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby Xplora » Mon 09 Jan, 2017 6:55 am

stry wrote:Another vote for STOLEN not "lost".

It's often surprising what is found by police when stopping a vehicle. "Stolen" will have a better chance of making it's way to a list somewhere than "Lost"

This is very true (both things). Better still if the cameras had an engraving with the owner details or even if the serial number is recorded. All reports are computer generated and items found can be searched in both stolen and lost but when a car is pulled over and property suspected of being stolen is found the check is made over the radio and the operator may only check against the stolen record. That is why it is important to have it recorded appropriately. These reports can be made at any Police Station in Victoria. The more specific the identification is the better chance of recovery. Unfortunately engravings in plastic are easily removed but that could then give rise to a suspicion on the goods. Most states have laws pertaining to goods suspected of being stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained. This would also then mean a search for stolen property of that description would be made and the person in possession of the goods has to substantiate they lawfully acquired them.
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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby sambar358 » Mon 09 Jan, 2017 7:02 am

Xplora......maybe I was reading a bit more into your post than was intended : "Most bushwalkers will respect your research and property but those encouraged to this area now are not necessarily so minded." I interpreted this as likely including hunters involved in the cull program or possibly illegal hunters now being aware of the 'deer problem" following publicity of the program in the press. Certainly the latter is quite probable.....especially with the Parks stolen deer cameras......but I think we all agree now that it'd be highly unlikely that any of the volunteer hunters were responsible. But with the location of these research cameras in open terrain in high-usage areas it's more likely that they were stolen by someone who just happened to stumble upon them and decided that they needed a new home.

So I apologize for my comments.......maybe I'm getting a bit over-sensitive to this sort of stuff in my old age and seeing things that are not really there......as I'm certainly not seeing things now and again that are standing right there gawking at me......HONK ! And yes, I did get your email with the attachments so thanks for that. It'll be interesting to see where Parks goes with the sambar cull program now that they've had a couple of years using volunteer hunter system and recently trialing some pro shooters as well. Still mates ? Of course.....even the best relationships have their little ups and downs from time-to-time.....LOL ! Cheers

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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby Moondog55 » Mon 09 Jan, 2017 7:05 am

I,m going to suggest that next time you set up cameras you also set up a hidden and disguised one to monitor the others
This way you will have evidence of the theft and with some luck the thiefs indentity
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby Snowzone » Mon 09 Jan, 2017 8:18 am

This camera actually has a note with it stating the use of the camera, not to interfere with it and that you are being photographed from another position. One would hope this would deter anyone. I also believe this particular camera is motion activated so you would be photographed as soon as you were near it anyway.
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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby sambar358 » Mon 09 Jan, 2017 8:57 am

I've been building my own home-brew trail camera for about 10 years and I run 10-12 of my own cameras on sambar deer during the colder months and take great care with placement and never put them in areas that I consider to be "high usage" as this magnifies their likelihood of being discovered and stolen. But running trail cameras in public areas (or even of private land) is at-best a calculated risk as you can never guarantee their security 100%. I've heard of large trees with trail cameras on them being chainsawed down in order to steal the camera....even in remote locations ! I did consider the "one hidden unit watching the other" but thought that the chance of then loosing two units rather than just one was more likely than getting any intel on the perps. pinching the more obvious unit.

Unfortunately this sort of thing is just a sign of the times these days.......lots of people getting about who'd not give a second thought to stealing something obviously belonging to someone else. But there are a plenty out there that'll leave the cameras alone or have a bit of fun with them.......like these 2 blokes who came across one of my sambar-set trail cameras a couple of years ago. This sort of "discovery" I can put up with. Cheers

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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby Snowzone » Mon 09 Jan, 2017 11:01 am

Snowzone wrote:This camera actually has a note with it stating the use of the camera, not to interfere with it and that you are being photographed from another position. One would hope this would deter anyone. I also believe this particular camera is motion activated so you would be photographed as soon as you were near it anyway.
IMG_0920.JPG

I should of said, This camera is motion activated and image is somehow transmitted. I was in the area a couple of years ago and met the operator of these cameras who was aware I had walked past one the previous day from the images that had been uploaded to his sight,
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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby sambar358 » Mon 09 Jan, 2017 1:32 pm

Some (expensive) commercial trail cameras enable images to be transmitted direct to a designated laptop, mobile phone or PC via the local mobile telephone network.......but not all have this capability and of course good mobile reception is required for them to function like this. This system tends to be quite expensive to run but it does give real-time images of what's happening at the trial camera site and if the unit was being tampered with there could be some record of the tamperer if they were careless enough to get their face in an image. But they don't prevent theft of course.....and all the locks, cables, chains and informative notes will only keep the honest people from stealing them. Cheers

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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby Xplora » Mon 09 Jan, 2017 6:45 pm

Moondog55 wrote:I,m going to suggest that next time you set up cameras you also set up a hidden and disguised one to monitor the others
This way you will have evidence of the theft and with some luck the thiefs indentity

The second camera for the purpose of capturing an illegal act against the first camera is in fact in breach of the law unless a warrant is issued by a court. This is covert surveillance. The location of the cameras for this trial are open areas and not many places available to hide another camera either. More thought as to the location of the cameras is probably a better option but may not necessarily afford the best scientific data. Given many of the cameras are in plain sight of popular and easy walking track then you can expect a few to go missing. Even when carefully placed and disguised they seem to be discovered. Thanks for sharing S358. Just as well I had eaten.
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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby Earthling » Wed 11 Jan, 2017 8:58 am

Xplora wrote:The second camera for the purpose of capturing an illegal act against the first camera is in fact in breach of the law unless a warrant is issued by a court

If your a business, you can LEGALLY set up a camera to catch a thief. However, you must have a sign that says that this is the case, for example 'You are being recorded' or the like, then its fine :)
You wouldn't have to say how many cameras there are or that a second one has been put up to catch you. Just simply adding 'You are being recorded' to your little note would be fine.

I vote for reporting stolen too, buggers they be.
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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby Xplora » Wed 11 Jan, 2017 6:15 pm

Earthling wrote:
Xplora wrote:The second camera for the purpose of capturing an illegal act against the first camera is in fact in breach of the law unless a warrant is issued by a court

If your a business, you can LEGALLY set up a camera to catch a thief. However, you must have a sign that says that this is the case, for example 'You are being recorded' or the like, then its fine :)
You wouldn't have to say how many cameras there are or that a second one has been put up to catch you. Just simply adding 'You are being recorded' to your little note would be fine.

I vote for reporting stolen too, buggers they be.
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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby Xplora » Wed 11 Jan, 2017 6:16 pm

Earthling wrote:If your a business, you can LEGALLY set up a camera to catch a thief. However, you must have a sign that says that this is the case, for example 'You are being recorded' or the like, then its fine :)
You wouldn't have to say how many cameras there are or that a second one has been put up to catch you. Just simply adding 'You are being recorded' to your little note would be fine.


This is true but it must be on your land or you have permission of the land manager. In this case it cannot be done as firstly all the cameras are in open areas, plain view and no trees. Secondly the person putting the cameras in needs a permit from Parks Vic to do so. Thirdly any other camera installed for the express purpose of catching an offence on public land needs special permission or a warrant and only the land manager can apply for the warrant. Yes you can put up a sign that surveillance cameras are in use but the OP cannot in fact put such cameras in place. These laws are in place to protect the privacy of people in public places. It is certainly unfortunate we live in a world where people have not respect for anything but knowing that, more care needs to be taken when valuable items are left in open view on high traffic areas or suffer the consequences. Lesson learned in this instance. I certainly do not condone the actions but I also am not surprised.
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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby Earthling » Fri 13 Jan, 2017 8:01 pm

Xplora wrote:This is true but it must be on your land or you have permission of the land manager. In this case it cannot be done as firstly all the cameras are in open areas, plain view and no trees. Secondly the person putting the cameras in needs a permit from Parks Vic to do so. Thirdly any other camera installed for the express purpose of catching an offence on public land needs special permission or a warrant and only the land manager can apply for the warrant. Yes you can put up a sign that surveillance cameras are in use but the OP cannot in fact put such cameras in place. These laws are in place to protect the privacy of people in public places. It is certainly unfortunate we live in a world where people have not respect for anything but knowing that, more care needs to be taken when valuable items are left in open view on high traffic areas or suffer the consequences. Lesson learned in this instance. I certainly do not condone the actions but I also am not surprised.


That's sad :( I'm trying to think of ways around it, but as long as there is no cover for a second camera it makes it all a bit difficult. I can see what your saying at the end.
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Re: Research cameras in Alpine NP missing

Postby sambar358 » Sat 14 Jan, 2017 8:50 pm

Individuals do not need the permission of Parks to use a trail camera for wildlife recording purposes in National Parks in Victoria. However there are broad guidelines for their usage such as prohibiting their placement around "populous places" such as camp grounds, toilets, swimming holes and other public areas.....but out in the bush away from these localities.....there are no compliance requirements at all.

Several years ago when the Victorian Wildlife (Game) Regulations were reviewed the draft Regs. had an inclusion that recommended the banning of trail cameras in non-hunting National Parks using the argument that they were being put there by hunters to monitor deer movement for later illegal hunting activity. However when it was suggested that this was discriminatory and that many hunters were also keen photographers and they were using trail cameras simply to obtain images not otherwise obtainable via hand-held cameras the proposal to ban trail cameras in these Parks was dropped from the new Regulations. In the past I have heard of Parks Vic staff at Wilsons Prom. confiscating discovered trail cameras set to photograph Hog deer....but in all cases these were returned (always reluctantly & after a fair bit of effort) as there is no Regulation prohibiting their use if they are set outside populous places.....despite what some Park Rangers may think.

Over the years I've discovered a few trail (surveillance) cameras set up by Parks Vic Rangers in behind seasonal road closure gates.......none of these cameras have ever had any visible signage as to their use or purpose or who they belonged to but certainly their placement watching closed vehicle tracks indicated to me that they were not there to photograph sambar deer wandering along the 4WD track. Someone doing a sanctioned research project in a Park with a significant amount of cameras out in high-use public areas would most-likely have some compliance requirements to meet.......but the use of a few trail cameras monitoring wildlife in more remote areas of public land certainly have no such requirements and never have despite what some local PV Rangers seem to think or tell members of the public. Ask them to "show you the Regs on that" and they'd be struggling as they don't exist ! Cheers

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