Winter 2017

Newsletter Archive


Urban Wildlife Abound in YYC - City of Calgary Parks Camera Monitoring Project

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The City of Calgary is well known for its park system, which supports diverse habitats, creates social and recreational opportunities for Calgarians, and provides ecosystem benefits such as clean water, and erosion and flood control. The riparian habitat corridors throughout the City's parks allow wildlife to live and move around the city; however, habitat fragmentation from urban growth presents an ever-increasing threat to maintaining healthy wildlife populations. Further, limited information exists regarding the species that inhabit our city and urban parks.

Recognizing this, City of Calgary Parks began a Wildlife Camera Monitoring Project in May 2017 to gather the data necessary to inform our understanding and management of urban wildlife. Over sixty remote motion-activated cameras have been launched throughout Calgary's largest natural areas, including the Weaselhead. The remote cameras are placed to capture images of medium and large sized mammals, such as cougars, bobcats, coyote, fox, bear, deer, moose and elk, which depend on intact wildlife corridors to move throughout the landscape. Baseline data on where mammals occur in the city will inform conservation and management decisions about Calgary's open spaces and better manage human-wildlife conflict.

Weaselhead Special Protection Natural Area is a 237 hectare park that borders the west end of the Glenmore Reservoir, and connects North and South Glenmore Parks. It offers a unique opportunity for Calgarians to experience nature in their city, and the diverse vegetation, networks of bars, channels and marsh areas support many wildlife species. In just two months of data that has been processed from Weaselhead, images have been captured of moose, deer, bobcat and coyote, as well as smaller species such as birds and squirrels. The remote cameras will remain in Weaselhead and other Calgary natural areas long term, providing valuable insight into where and how animals are moving throughout the city.

To record the large volume of data the remote cameras are capturing, City of Calgary Parks will be launching an online citizen-science project to classify which species are found in the images. This project will be hosted on the Zooniverse portal, where public are able to review images from the remote cameras and record the species found as well as additional information. The project, called "Calgary Captured" is planned to be launched in early 2018 - if you would like to be notified of the project launch, please email Sam Managh at Samantha.Managh@calgary.ca. No previous experience is needed, and offers a fun opportunity to get involved with important wildlife research taking place in Calgary!

Learn more about urban wildlife on the City of Calgary website: https://maps.calgary.ca/Wildlife/