Your Backyard. Their Backyard
Ever wonder what is in your backyard? Or to phrase the question another way, whose backyard are we in?
For the past several months, I been working as a volunteer for the Washington Urban-Wildlife Carnivore Project uncovering questions like these, and exploring ways to promote coexistence among humans and carnivores in King County, WA.
The project is a collaboration between Woodland Park Zoo and the University of Washington (UW) School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, with Michael Havrda as the lead, on-the-ground scientist. We are deploying remote cameras in forest patches on federal, state, municipal and private lands along gradients of human development (from urban to wildland) to research how carnivores respond to urbanization and human activity. Focal species include; cougars (Puma concolor), black bears (Ursus americanus), bobcats (Lynz rufus), coyotes (Canis latrans), raccoons (Procyon lotor), striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis), domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) and domestic cats (Felis catus).
What excites me about this project, is it’s novelty in the King County area and the opportunity to collect data on species in Washington State. By studying where and when carnivores occur, and what happens to the ecosystem when apex carnivores are absent, we can make more informed decisions for land-use planning and conservation efforts.
Woodland Park Zoo’s Conservation: HERE
Washington Trails Association: HERE