Gotcha! Camera Trap Study Helps BILT Better Understand Wildlife Use of Conserved Lands
The Bainbridge Island Land Trust conducted a camera trap study on the recently acquired Wildlife Corridor Expansion property, located between Meig's Park and East Grand Forest. The study took place between July 2014 and May 2015.
The project, under direction of Land Trust Conservation Director Brenda Padgham and board member Deb Rudnick, Ph.D ecologist, was supported by two University of Washington Capstone students, Malerie Fleischman and Simon Nhan, along with AmeriCorps member Becca Nissley.
The overall goal of the project was to evaluate the use of the Land Trust Wildlife Corridor property by humans and wildlife. The information gathered from the study will be used to inform conservation management of the property in the future.
It can be challenging to document and describe wildlife
behavior, particularly mammalian wildlife, without unintentionally impacting or
changing that behavior along the way. Even with the quietest and most
unobtrusive study habits, mammals are very sensitive to human presence and will
often alter their behavior or avoid areas where we are. Camera traps are a
wonderful method to overcome some of these challenges. Camera traps are
stationary cameras mounted on a tree or object that are triggered by motion.
The cameras we use are silent and produce a low infra-red light at night, so
they do not have the kind of bright flash or noise of a typical camera that
might scare the animal. By using these cameras, we can get a much better idea
of typical wildlife behavior that occurs when wildlife is freely foraging or
moving through the Corridor.
A thorough analysis of the impacts of human use on wildlife within the property is underway. In the mean time, enjoy viewing some of the critters spotted during the project!