Science never sleeps! At least not at our Independence Lake Preserve, where a series of remote wildlife viewing cameras give us insight into what wildlife are doing even when our scientists aren’t there to see them.
These pictures are fun to look at, but they also provide important information about to our science staff managing the preserve about which wildlife species are present and their numbers, distribution, behaviors, and habitat selection. That helps them make better decisions about how to protect or improve wildlife habitat, in addition to the work we're doing to restore forests that provide clean drinking water for hundreds of thousands of Northern Nevada residents.
Our scientists shared what they captured with their motion detecting cameras. Take a look for yourself!
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Several black bears sauntered by. They may not look it, but these bears are excellent climbers.
No doubt this is a mountain lion passing by in the dark. Its tail makes up a third of this large cat’s body length!
Unlike mountain lions, bobcat tails are extremely short. In fact, that’s how these black-tufted creatures got their name.
This coyote’s out for a stroll in the deep snow. Coyotes grow a thicker, longer coat for the winter with a distinct crescent of black and white hairs. Their winter coats also include a very bushy tail!
This mule deer buck got up close and personal. Mule deer antlers are covered with skin-like velvet while they’re growing, which the deer rub off on hard objects once the antlers are fully grown. The full-grown, hardened antlers are shed every year in late winter after the mating season.
A mom and baby mule deer pair also made an appearance.
Independence Lake Preserve is home to many birds, like these sandhill cranes. Sandhill cranes are fairly social birds that usually live in pairs or family groups through the year.
Can you spot the sandhill chicks in this photo?
The wildlife cam spotted some two-legged creatures, too, which isn’t that surprising given the thousands of visitors Independence Lake Preserve gets each year. Our recreation program—including a fleet of kayaks and motor boats housed at the lake and provided free of charge for visitors to use—aims to balance people’s enjoyment of this Sierra gem with protection of clean water, wildlife habitat, and unique native fish.