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Environment

Scientists Want Your Help To Capture Wildlife With 'Camera Traps'

A photo of a black bear captured in Jones county through the North Carolina Candid Critter project.
North Carolina's Candid Critters
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North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
A photo of a black bear captured in Jones county through the North Carolina Candid Critter project.

Wildlife scientists and managers are trying to capture photos of wildlife in every North Carolina county using motion sensing cameras. NC State University and the NC Museum of Natural Sciences are working with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission to compile a mammal survey.
Scientist Roland Kays is one of the coordinators of the N.C. Candid Critters project, which is gathering photos taken on public lands as well as in back yards.

"What we're trying to do is really get a representative picture of the wildlife in each county, and backyards are important habitats in lots of counties," Kays said. "There's also some really interesting questions about what's actually living in people's backyards."

The Candid Critters web site offers information on where to get a camera trap, and guidelines for submitting photos for the mammal survey. Over the next three years, Kays said, the photos will be used to analyze animal populations and habitats, and  also help officials manage game and endangered species.

Volunteers for North Carolina's Candid Critters can set up motion-sensing cameras to capture photos of wildlife on their property or on public land.
Credit North Carolina's Candid Critter / North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
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North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Volunteers for North Carolina's Candid Critters can set up motion-sensing cameras to capture photos of wildlife on their property or on public land.

"We're particularly interested in looking at how deer and coyote vary across the state—there are some areas that have an abundance of coyotes—and if that's affecting the deer population," he said.

Kays said they're also interested in learning more about the state's expanding elk population, and dwindling numbers of red wolves.

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