Automated Species at Risk Monitoring
Posted on Thursday September 26, 2019
Most people know that species at risk are protected at Garrison Petawawa, but many people don’t realize just how we know what species are here and where they might be found. We find out a lot of our information from conducting good old fashioned fieldwork or even incidentally from others who have documented sightings while in the field. Another, more high-tech, approach that we have recently adopted involves the use of automated recording devices.
Trail Cameras are deployed throughout the RTA to track sightings of Eastern Wolves and other wildlife at key locations. The cameras are motion-activated and automatically take photos when something walks by. We also deploy Bioacoustic Recording Devices in order to record sounds made by species at risk and other wildlife that are acoustically active. The devices we use can record both acoustic soundwaves (what you and I can hear, such as wolf howls, bird songs, and frog calls) and ultrasonic soundwaves (the high frequency echolocation sounds made by bats that we cannot hear).
These devices can be programed to record different soundwaves at different times of day and allow us to obtain information that we wouldn’t be able to obtain otherwise. For instance, they can be deployed in areas that we cannot gain access to due to live-fire restrictions or set to record at sunrise, sunset, or even the middle of the night. Hours of recordings can then be visually analyzed in minutes to determine whether any targeted species at risk were present or absent at that location.
The advent of automatic recording technology has truly aided in our ability to locate and protect species at risk, while minimizing the effort required to do so.