Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project makes new discoveries

Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project makes new discoveries

Conservation Northwest / Jan 06, 2017 / Wildlife Monitoring

Two wolverines in new areas of the Cascades, a fisher in the South Cascades, and another wolf among highlights from project in 2016

There’s no denying it: last year had its ups and downs. But before you write off 2016 as the year to forget, take a look at some of the exciting photos of native wildlife that we received throughout last year’s Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project (CWMP) remote camera season!

Throughout the year, we captured photo evidence of rare wildlife moving in areas where we’ve never documented them before. Volunteers sent in photos of wolverines at two new sites just east of Stevens Pass and in the Chiwawa Valley north of Lake Wenatchee, as well as another wolf from the Teanaway Pack on a walkabout in the Chiwaukum Mountains west of Leavenworth.

We also received photos of a newly-released fisher in the Bumping Lake area near Mount Rainier, an encouraging sight as we continue our second year of fisher releases, part of a multi-year project in the South Cascades.

A gray wolf in the Chiwaukum area last year. Photo: CWMP

We also began a collaborative lynx monitoring project in northeast Washington with help from researchers at Washington State University – together, we’re working to document the presence of Canada lynx in the Kettle River Mountain Range. Through the project, researchers were able to capture images of this endangered cat near Sherman Pass in Ferry County, helping us further our knowledge on their movements and population viability in northeast Washington.

This year our monitoring project also joined the Wildlife Camera Network-Northwest alongside Woodland Park Zoo and other organizations who monitor for wildlife in our region. This data-sharing collaborative will help us avoid redundancy when we set up monitoring sites throughout the state. In the years ahead we’ll also be participating in a multi-state wolverine study with the same goals in mind.

A cougar on the Colville National Forest in August. Photo: CWMP

This fall, our monitoring project was also on TV! An episode of Xploration Awesome Planet featuring our staff and CWMP volunteers aired on Hulu. A camera crew joined us in the field as we set up a monitoring site in the Cascades, and the segment that features citizen science and our work is available for viewing on our YouTube channel.

As always, we’re extending a huge thank you to the more than 75 wonderful volunteers who joined us this past spring through fall. We also have additional volunteers in ten snowtracking teams who will be working this winter monitoring for wildlife activity in the Snoqualmie Pass area and near new I-90 wildlife crossings.

Our Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project is one of the largest volunteer-based citizen science efforts in North America, and the Project is generating real results for rare and recovering species. The data our volunteers collects supports state and federal conservation efforts, and with it we’ll continue to fight for our native wildlife and help ensure their successful recovery!

A bull elk near the Interstate 90 corridor. Photo: CWMP