Learn how to establish 'bait stations' to collect images and DNA from forest carnivores. MBI partners are using this technique to monitor rare and common forest carnivores across the Idaho Panhandle and adjoining mountain ranges. Both paid employees and volunteer 'citizen naturalists' establish and run these stations.
While bushwhacking up a stream in the Selkirk Mountains last summer I came across a mineral lick that had quite a bit of mountain goat sign at it. Mountain goats, a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Idaho, are known to make serious side-trips from their normal routine to visit such areas typically rich in sodium and other important minerals.
52 switchbacks up and 52 switchbacks down made for a 4,000 vertical foot and 14 mile day for IDFG wildlife biologist Lacy Robinson. Last week Lacy took on one of north Idaho's most punishing trails up Parker Ridge to swap out a MBI temperature data logger.
During the summer of 2012 MBI crews deployed remote cameras along roads and trails in northern Idaho's Purcell and Selkirk mountain ranges. Our goal was to obtain images of lynx. Idaho's State Wildlife Action Plan recommends several conservation actions for this species which include gathering basic information on where it occurs. We successfully obtained images of lynx at three separate camera sets. All of the lynx images were obtained in Idaho's Purcell Mountains within the geographic area the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated as critical habitat for lynx. We also got some great shots of other animal species!
Scott Rulander is producing a documentary film about MBI. Check out the preview which features MBI winter field work. Thanks so much to the Shook Twins for providing their incredible music for the video!
Photo: Scott Rulander filming carnivore field work. Scott is a seasonal MBI Wildlife Technician.
Environmental DNA (eDNA) is DNA found in the environment. This can be in the form of scats, saliva left on twigs, or in this case water. Amphibians leave DNA in their environment in several ways such as shedding skin cells or defecating. We use a pump to force water from a wetland through a membrane. The membrane is later analyzed in the lab to see which species left their DNA in the wetland (and then we can tell which species lives in the wetland). Because this is a new technique, we don't yet know how sensitive it is.