Camera Trap Studies

Gotcha! Camera Trap Study Sheds Light on Island Wildlife
The Bainbridge Island Land Trust conducted a camera trap study on its Wildlife Corridor Expansion property, located between Meig’s Park and East Grand Forest. The study took place between July 2014 and May 2015, under direction of Land Trust conservation director, Brenda Padgham and board member, Deb Rudnick, Ph.D ecologist, with support from two University of Washington Capstone students, Malerie Fleischman and Simon Nhan, along with AmeriCorps member Becca Nissley.

The project’s overall goal was to evaluate the use of the Land Trust’s Wildlife Corridor property by humans and impacts on wildlife species abundance or use of the property. In our study, we detected that where there were not trails used by humans (or off leash dogs), wildlife species diversity AND abundance was substantially better than in areas where there were trails or off leash dog use. Additionally, in areas where there were no trails, wildlife used these areas at all times during the day and night, whereas where there were trails, wildlife used those areas on a limited basis. The information gathered from the study will be used to inform the property’s future conservation management.

Purpose of the Study
It can be challenging to document and describe wildlife behavior, particularly mammalian wildlife, without unintentionally impacting or changing that behavior. 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 we use. Camera traps are a wonderful way to overcome these challenges because they are mounted on a tree or object and are triggered by motion. Our cameras are silent and produce a low infra-red light at night, so they don’t scare the animal. By using these cameras, we can get a much better idea of typical wildlife behavior while freely foraging or moving through the Wildlife Corridor or any other conservation property.

Like Critters? Enjoy viewing some of the photos captured during the project!

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