Our favorite wildlife monitoring photos from 2019

Our favorite wildlife monitoring photos from 2019

Conservation Northwest / Dec 23, 2019 / Restoring Wildlife, Wildlife Monitoring

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—our favorite wildlife monitoring photos of 2019 are finally here!

By Laurel Baum, Citizen wildlife Monitoring Project Coordinator

We’ve been monitoring wildlife in remote areas of Washington state for 14 years now, and every time we check our cameras, it seems as though things are getting more and more wild out there. These photos never cease to fill me with awe for the species that call this region home.

A gray wolf near Stevens Pass. We’ve photographed wolves frequently in this area, and are working with state officials to determine if a new pack has taken up residence in the north-central Cascades.

This year our Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project (CWMP) volunteers documented beautiful photos of animals like elk, mule deer, bobcats and cougars. We’re also thrilled to share some photos of our target species including wolves, wolverines and fishers.

It’s always exciting to see these target species appear on our cameras. But the surprising shots of golden eagles going after a baited station, bears in a field of alpine flowers, and the seasonal return of elk calves exploring their environment for the first time portray the daily nuances in the landscapes and the wild animals that live in them—and that’s what I really enjoy.

Jim Clark, a long-time CWMP volunteer, helps to build a wolverine run-pole in the North Cascades. Photo: Laurel Baum

Our more than 100 volunteers make up the largest community-science wildlife monitoring effort of its kind in North America, and we are thankful for each and every one! The data we receive provides important information to biologists, wildlife managers and researchers at state and federal agencies who are working on wildlife conservation in Washington.

CWMP teams don’t only hike to remote areas to maintain cameras and retrieve photos, but they also scout wildlife habitat for potential monitoring sites. Additionally, our volunteers set up hair snags to collect DNA samples, and maintain special run-poles for wolverines so that the remote camera photos capture their unique chest marking for easy identification.

In fact, one of my highlights from this field season was building two new wolverine run-poles with volunteers in the North Cascades. A few teams went above and beyond by carrying in hand tools, drilling bolt holes, and constructing additional structures. I can’t wait to see what kinds of photos these new sites will have in store for us next year!

I hope you enjoy the wildlands and wildlife captured in some of our favorite CWMP pictures from 2019! Click on the images for a larger version.