Carnivores Captured in Park
The most difficult mammals to inventory and determine population sizes are the carnivores. Carnivores include the mountain lion, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, ringtail cats, weasels, and skunks. These animals are highly secretive and are most active at night, therefore seeing them is a rare event. However, we still need to know their population sizes to understand things such as predation rates on other animal species, particularly sensitive species, or their responses to park management.
Due to the difficulty of direct observation, the park began a pilot study using remote cameras in the winter of 2002. Remote cameras were on 24 hours a day. These cameras have an infrared motion sensor that is activated by heat and movement within 100 feet, which then triggers the camera to take a picture. To entice carnivores to come near the camera we set out bait such as road killed deer or elk and lures.
Six cameras were set up during winter 2002 when more carnivores are down at lower elevations. Tracks in the snow helped us determine if the cameras were working properly. During the summer, cameras were moved to mountain passes and remote springs.
Remote cameras take compelling photos