Massive camera trapping project goes statewide in NC

Do you ever wonder what animals lurk in the wildest parts of the state? Or in your own backyard?

With spring just around the corner, now is a great time for North Carolina residents, particularly those in the central and western parts of the state, to help uncover the secrets of local wildlife. By participating in “NC’s Candid Critters,” a new research project of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and N.C. State University, you too can become an important part of the largest camera trap survey ever.

Camera traps are motion-activated cameras that allow scientists (and non-scientists) to collect pictures of animals without disturbing them. Since the project’s launch in eastern North Carolina last December, participants have already sent in more than 50,000 images that will ultimately be used by scientists to learn more about the distribution of mammal species across the state, which in turn informs future wildlife management and conservation efforts.

The goal of N.C.’s Candid Critters is to monitor 20,000-30,000 sites spanning the entire state over the next three years, which would make it the largest-ever mammal survey of its kind. According to project coordinator Arielle Parsons, research associate with the Museum of Natural Sciences’ Biodiversity Research Lab, “To collect massive amounts of camera trap images from across all 100 counties in North Carolina, we really need the public’s help. The more people that participate, the more we can learn about North Carolina’s critters.”

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