41 cameras installed on the Whitehorse wildlife corridor give surprising results

A conservation group took a close look at Whitehorse’s wildlife over the summer as they studied the impact of human activity on the area.

Between May and September, the Yukon chapter of the Canada Parks and Nature Society (SNAP) set up 41 camera traps at McIntyre Creek, a 42 square kilometer area that runs through the city and is proving to be a popular spot. for fun.

Maegan Elliott, a conservation coordinator, said there was a “knowledge gap” they wanted to fill.

“We just don’t have a full understanding of how different wildlife species use the McIntyre Corridor and how human activity affects them. And especially what species are present throughout the year or at different times of the year. ‘year, ”Elliott said.

Elliott said McIntyre Creek is known as a “wildlife corridor,” which means animals use it to move through town safely on their way to the wilderness outside of Whitehorse.

The area is also of cultural significance, as First Nations are believed to move up the creek to access hunting and fishing grounds, she added.

A pair of moose captured by cameras installed by the Nature and Nature Society of Canada at McIntyre Creek in Whitehorse during the summer. (SNAP Yukon)

Cameras have captured a wealth of data, recording common species like coyotes, foxes and deer.

They also captured grizzly bears and black bears, moose, pine martens, and a lone wolf. Elliott noted that neither bears nor wolves were located in high traffic areas.

“It’s pretty exciting to open a camera and it’s kind of like Christmas morning (where you) open presents to see what you have on the camera,” she said.

Moose were a common sight which was a surprise.

“It was originally thought that moose were more common in the area in the winter, and they were quite rare in the summer. But we actually had quite a few moose and even cows with calves in some of the more popular parts. busiest in the area, ”Elliott said. noted.

“So it was quite interesting to me, that the moose could still make a living there, even with all the human activity.”

In addition to the photos, SNAP also recorded bird songs in May and June.

Too early to draw conclusions

Currently, the group is studying wildlife tracks in the snow to see how wildlife use the area. Elliott said the data will be compared to trails and roads.

“And that should give us a pretty good idea of ​​how they’re using the area and how our presence affects them as well,” Elliott said.

At this point, Elliott said it was too early to draw any conclusions from the data, which has yet to be analyzed.

She said the results will be shared with City of Whitehorse planners, scientists and First Nations governments.

However, she urged others to pay attention, especially as the city of Whitehorse is revising its official community plan.

“This is a very important area for our wildlife, but also for people to connect with the area,” she said.

“In the new year they should have a draft of the plan and it will have a vision for McIntyre Creek… I just want people to keep an eye on this if McIntyre Creek is important to them.”

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