Camera trapping is one of the most effective field research methods with potential for multiple field applications. Our remote camera trapping program was first initiated for the sole purpose of studying carnivores. As time went by we realized that the camera traps were useful not only to study carnivores but also to gather information on elephants and various other fauna as well. The cameras can be used very effectively to collect information on the health of elephants, especially to identify elephants that have been seriously wounded or injured or in poor overall physical condition.
In Wasgamuwa, one of the main threats to wild elephants is trap guns and steel wire snares. There is a very interesting reason for how and why this is so. Elephants are landscape architects similar to humans in many aspects. They are truly the only other species next to humans who can alter their environment very drastically. Elephants are the road makers of the wild—they are bulldozers that create the main pathways in the forests and even in human-dominated landscapes. These paths made by elephants eventually become the main roads for practically all the other animals such as Sambhur, Axis deer, wild boar, leopard, sloth bear and even smaller animals such as civets, mongooses and mouse deer. Poachers use these paths as well to set their guns and traps and this is how elephants get injured by trap guns and snares.