Since 2014, over 1,000 volunteers have supported the Marin Wildlife Picture Index project, maintaining cameras out in the field, and processing images on digital workstations.
Coyote (Canis latrans) at Cascade Canyon: One of the most common myths about coyotes is that they howl at the moon, but they’re just communicating their location with each other. Coyotes typically hunt alone but will form packs for larger prey such as deer.
Striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) at Cascade Canyon: Striped skunks are identified by their signature black and white V coloration and bushy tails. They nest in burrows built by other animals, as well as hollowed out logs. Predators give them a wide berth due to their smelly spray.
Bobcat (Lynx rufus) at Golden Gate National Recreation Area: Bobcats prefer woodland habitats, but are remarkably adaptable – ranging across most of North America, they have been sighted in swamps, deserts, and mountain habitats. They are sometimes reported near areas of human habitation, occasionally being mistaken for housecats.
Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) at Mt Tamalpais: Insects are too small to reliably set off the cameras, but sometimes larger animals assist with getting the shot. Nocturnal insects and bats are occasionally photographed with deer during nighttime foraging; however, they are too small and quick to identify.
Burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) at Golden Gate National Recreation Area: Burrowing owls live in open habitats with little vegetation. They spend most of their time on the ground or low perches. Burrowing owls nest and roost in burrows excavated by other animals, like ground squirrels and badgers.
Mountain lion (Puma concolor) at Gary Giacomini: This large cat, which is more closely related to house cats than big cats, has the largest range of any terrestrial wild animal in the western hemisphere. They also hold the world record for most names (40 in total!).
Motion-activated cameras have revolutionized the study of wildlife. Wildlife Picture Index technology was developed jointly by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Zoological Society of London, in coordination with HP Earth Insights and Conservation International. This method of passively collecting reliable, accurate scientific data is being used to study animal diversity and abundance around the world.