Where Marin’s wild things are

Whether you’re a hardcore animal enthusiast or occasional zoo-goer, you have to admit: Catching a glimpse of wildlife typically unseen by humans is pretty sweet.

Such is the case at the Point Reyes National Seashore, where cameras have caught nearly 60 rarely-seen species, some of which only come out at night.

John Dell’Osso, chief of interpretation at the national seashore, told the Marin IJ:

“It has become a long-term data gathering project that helps us learn more and document what is out here.”

The cameras at the seashore were originally installed back in 1995 following the Vision Fire which burned about 12,000 acres of the national park. The U.S. Geological Survey installed the cameras as part of a project to see how wildlife in the fire-stricken area had fared.

Gary Fellers, research biologist with the USGS who heads the wildlife camera program, told the IJ:

“We were able to determine that they survived the fire quite well.”

The biggest point of interest for the biologists was to see how medium-to-large-sized mammals survived after the fire.

What has come from having the cameras in place is sightings of 26 species of mammals and 30 species of birds. More than 13,000 pictures have been snapped, and cameras with infrared motion-detecting sensors have been able to capture glimpses of creatures that don’t normally come out during the day, let alone when humans are around.

While porcupines and ring-tailed cats seem to be wily enough to dodge the six cameras set up at the national seashore, many other species appear to be not-quite-so camera shy. Wild fare such as long-tailed weasels, mountain beavers, spotted skunks, and — of course — bobcats and mountain lions have been captured over the years.