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After three years and four million images, the Marin Wildlife Picture Index Project is releasing its first findings. Get a glimpse of what we’re learning about our wild neighbors, and enjoy a reception with biologists, staff, and community scientists working to understand the health of Mt. Tam’s wildlife.
A solution to the difficulties surrounding wildlife monitoring has evolved over time as new technologies have emerged and sampling techniques have been refined in the world of conservation biology. The Wildlife Picture Index Project (WPI) is internationally used and recognized as a method of passively collecting reliable, accurate, and rigorous wildlife data across many levels of the food chain on the landscape scale.
The WPI utilizes motion-activated wildlife cameras that are positioned along a grid at regular intervals across a large area. The grid provides non-biased sampling locations (locations chosen with impartiality), the regular intervals provide a way to derive frequency measures, and the photographs provide easy ways to identify the species, numbers of individuals, and the date, time, and location of activities. With this data, land managers will be able to establish baseline population figures, identify wildlife “hotspots” and crucial corridors for movement, and begin to assess trends in populations. In the long run, the goal is to understand wildlife populations well enough to identify what healthy populations look like, identify early signals of distress, and avoid population declines.