Local project documenting wild animals in residential areas


WOODINVILLE, Wash. -- Ever wonder what kind of wild animals are just outside your front door? The Washington-Urban to Wildland Carnivore Project is documenting carnivores to better understand how people and wild animals can co-exist.

"We are basically looking at all of the native carnivore species that are in the Western Washington," said Michael Havrda, who is the lead on the project. "Cougars, bobcats, coyotes, black bears and raccoons would be the man focal species for us."

Twelve-year old Carson Russell and his family are about to learn what kind of animals are lurking all around their Woodinville home.

"I've never really seen a bobcat or porcupine or any of those animals at night - I've only seen a bear and squirrel and a few rabbits," said Carson.

The project is a collaboration between the University of Washington and the Woodland Park Zoo. The animals are captured on cameras set up in residential yards and trails across the eastside of King County.

"If something sets off the motion sensor, this LED will blink," said Havrda about the camera that he tied onto a tree in the Russell Family's Woodinville yard.

The project will also explore how carnivores respond to urbanization and human activity by studying where they are, what they eat and more.

"Remote cameras allow us to study these elusive species without capturing them or even interrupting their activity patterns," said Robert Long, PhD, a senior conservation fellow in Woodland Park Zoo's field conservation department. He also oversees the project.

As human development continues to expand into the urban wildland interface experts want a better understand about the co-existence between humans and the species living all around us.

Dozens of cameras are being placed from Redmond to North Bend.

Data will be gathered from the cameras in four to six weeks.

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