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Wildlife Monitoring at the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve

Associate Professor Lynn Christenson, Field Station Manager Keri VanCamp

Stephen Kovari

A series of motion activated trail cameras have been set up on the Vassar Ecological Preserve in an effort to better understand how animals are using the land. Cameras are checked regularly and have taken photos with as many as two bobcats and three coyotes. Patterns in the data seem to suggest that coyotes are more comfortable traveling on trails, while bobcats travel more often through shrubby habitat connectors. We hope to collect data on where bobcats, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, opossums, and other carnivores spend the majority of their time on the preserve, and evaluate species richness by habitat type and proximity to trails and roads. Daily activity graphs for different species, as well as basic occupancy modeling will be performed on a dataset that extends to the Vassar campus as well to give us more insight into how these animals use our campus and how to best protect them.