Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Mega-Transect Looking for Cougars et al.

The Roanoke (VA) Times has a 13 February 2007 article by John Cramer headlined "Will Cameras Catch the Mythical Cat?" It is about the predator survey being started in the Appalachian Trail's mid-section as part of the "mega-transect."

So maybe they won't catch a Virginia cougar (Puma concolor) on film [can I still say that if they're using digital cameras?] with the motion-sensitive infrared cameras they're using. So what? The idea is to get a baseline population counts of all the predators in the woods. If a cougar happens to wander by, that would be icing on the cake. The fact that there hasn't been a verified sighting of one in Virginia since 1882 doesn't mean they're not there, does it?

"Between April and November, researchers and volunteers plan to post 50 digital cameras in 350 predetermined sites in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland." And, no, the cameras won't be on the Trail itself, so they shouldn't be snapping pictures of hikers.

If you are in the area, they're looking for volunteers to help out. Contact either the ATC or the Virginia Master Naturalist Program.

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