Trail camera field work in Arizona
Ongoing camera monitoring efforts in Southern Arizona to monitor wildlife for the goal of detecting endangered jaguars and ocelots have covered 20 mountain ranges, off and on, from 2012 to 2019. Currently monitoring 12 Southern Arizona mountain ranges, this project is being conducted exclusively in the field by citizen science volunteers at the University of Arizona under the direction of Melanie Culver, USGS, AZCFWRU. Among an abundance of 50 interesting and exciting wildlife species, we currently have one jaguar and one ocelot roaming southern Arizona. From 8 years of data we can start to examine long term trends for species, this is important because this area is heavily impacted by droughts and other land use changes so wildlife impacts are of interest to the scientific community. Connectivity of wildlife is also of interest in this area due to the international border wall, so photo data can contribute to assessing connectivity using frequency of tropical species detected over time. There are many reasons why connectivity should be maintained for wildlife such as; need of intact corridors for dispersal, to find water during the dry season, to find mates during breeding season (leading to gene flow), to forage optimally for browsing species, to find prey, for seasonal migrations. Our data indicate a permeable wall (such as the wall constructed in 2008) may be preferable to the proposed impermeable wall, due to abundant photos of species in Arizona, from Mexico, such as ocelot, jaguar, and other tropical species.