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NC Museum of Natural Sciences distributes critter cameras

Posted October 25
Updated October 26

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— Twenty-five years ago, you wouldn’t have come across a coyote in a Raleigh backyard. But it’s not unheard-of today.

“Coyotes are a relatively new immigrant to the state, and we think they're increasing, but we don't really know,” said Roland Kays, head of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science's Biodiversity Research Lab.

Kays said a new initiative could help answer questions about coyote and other animal populations.

The museum has ordered camouflaged motion-detecting camera traps for a new study in an effort to obtain candid pictures of the state's critters.

“We're going to loan these out to people all across North Carolina and help us learn where the wildlife is and how it varies across the state,” Kays said. “You borrow one of the camera traps and set it up on your property. After a few weeks, you send the pictures here to the museum, and researchers will take a look at what you captured.”

The goal is to gather more accurate and widespread data.

“By working with volunteers, with citizen scientists across the state, we cover much larger area than if it was just me setting the cameras by myself,” Kays said. “If we succeed, that would be the largest camera-trapping study ever.”

More data means more answers for scientists to know what critters are really roaming around North Carolina.

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