Some you’d expect, others may surprise you. But now, thanks to tens of thousands of photos, we have a better idea what wildlife calls Calgary parks home.
The city-run project is called Calgary Captured. Its set up dozens of cameras in Calgary’s more than 8,000 hectares of park space.
“We’ve got about 65 wildlife cameras. These are solar powered, remotely triggered, work-day-and-night cameras we use just to pick up pictures of critters that pass in front of the camera,” Chris Manderson with the City of Calgary parks department said.
The project uses a website called zooniverse to post the pictures online. From there, anyone from anywhere can see the photos and help classify what animals they see for free.
The pictures have been up online since February and so far more than 2,400 people have signed up to help identify thousands of photos.
The Miistakis Institute helps the city manage the project.
“It’s really exciting, a lot of people don’t know what occurs in Calgary’s parks and might be surprised we have so much biodiversity right in the city,” Nicole Kahal with the Miistakis Institute said.
As for what’s been found — there are some surprises.
“Some of the unusual ones are the long-tailed weasel species of concern provisionally,” Manderson said. “Northern flying squirrels have shown up in the Weasel Head and Fish Creek parks. They’re nocturnal, so to see one on a tree in the dark a neat find. Pine marten showed up in Weasel Head so that’s a new one for us as well.”
Some of the other species that have been identified are beavers, cougars, deer, raccoons, porcupine, bobcats and black bears. A variety of birds and other animals have also been captured including raptors, songbirds, cattle, hares, butterflies and even ticks.
If you want to take a look at what’s living in Calgary parks you can sift through the photos on the Calgary Captured website and also sign up to start classifying the animals you see.