January 28, 2016 12:12 am
Updated: January 28, 2016 12:20 am

SFU research project takes a hit following theft of cameras from Burnaby Mountain

WATCH: First-year biology students at Simon Fraser University set up multiple cameras on trails around Burnaby Mountain for a wildlife project, only to have them stolen. John Hua explains why this loss could end up being greater than just the equipment.

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Several cameras set up on trails around Burnaby Mountain have been stolen, negatively impacting research conducted by first-year biology students at Simon Fraser University.

The objective of the Camera Trap project was to give students practical field experience by using 11 motion-sensitive cameras to capture wildlife roaming the trails around SFU.

“We want to use a man-made trail because that’s what large wildlife use for their own travel,” SFU Biology PhD Candidate Allison Cornell said.

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Cornell went to say the goal was to “put these [cameras] out, collect data on what wildlife are doing on the mountain and where they are located and learn by doing science rather than reading about it.”

The cameras eventually captured images of a bobcat on the trail.

Sadly, when they went to retrieve the cameras — valued at about $200 apiece — they found several of them were missing.

“There were four of the cameras that we think were stolen,” Cornell said. “We never recovered those.”

They also didn’t recover data that were critical to their research, including footage of the bobcat.

“We would have liked to see how many times that bobcat actually used that path,” SFU Biology PhD Candidate Raime Fronstin said.

What started as an opportunity to learn more about wildlife became a hard lesson in human nature.

“There are deceitful animal in every species,” Fronstin said.

– With files from John Hua

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