November 29, 2012

Critter Cam

New technology is letting biologists observe animals in the wild.

Trevor Hebert: Possums, skunks, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, Great Horned Owls, hawks, jays.

Julian: These are the animals that greet Trevor Hebert on his computer every morning. They all call Jasper Ridge home.

Jasper Ridge is a biological preserve owned by Stanford University in Northern California.

Taking a photo of the creatures isn’t easy.

Trevor: This is a digital, wireless camera trap, and it has a infrared motion sensor that detects the body heat of an animal. And when that animal passes by, it triggers a picture which is then transmitted wirelessly to a base station at our facility.

Julian: Camera-trapping photos aren’t only taken at this preserve. There are pictures and videos from all around the world of rare types of animals, like these hard-to-catch Cross River gorillas from the country of Cameroon in Africa, and even a wolverine from Northern California.

Amanda Shufelberger: This was the first time documented proof of a wolverine since, I think, the 1920s.

Julian: A company called Sierra Pacific Industries moves 100 cameras over 750,000 acres of timberland to keep an eye on local animals.

Amanda: Really, wolverine isn’t even in your reality. That was pretty exciting.


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