Field Notes

Wildlife Tracking 101: A-what-a-grade?

October 16, 2019

Animals have evolved various form of locomotion to get around. Terrestrial animals have common three types of locomotion: plantigrade, digitigrade, and unguligrade. You can see an animal’s locomotion type in their tracks, and is a tool to help you narrow down what animal made that track.  Please see our previous blog post: Anatomy of a…
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Wildlife Tracking 101: Anatomy of a Track

October 9, 2019

To learn how to track you must first understand some basics of anatomy. If you can understand what part of the foot made that mark, and if you know terminology, you can start to ID the track and communicate to other trackers what you see. The best way to learn the anatomy of the track…
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Where Does Wildlife Go?

October 4, 2019

We recently explored a small section of existing border wall habitat on the US side of the border with Mexico at Coronado Memorial. A sandy wash meanders southward through the park from the Huachuca Mountains and abruptly runs into the steel border wall. As we looked for signs of wildlife on the move, sure enough…
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Wildlife Tracking 101: How many toes?

October 2, 2019

Did you know you can separate animal footprints, also called tracks based on how many toes you see? There are many variables that can affect how many toes show up, ground type, speed of the animal, and age of the track. But if you can count the number of toes you see, you are on…
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Meet a Cross-Border Cat—Mountain Lion

September 25, 2019

Puma concolor is known by many names: mountain lion, puma, cougar, catamount, and panther, but all refer to the same species. Mountain lions have the widest geographic range of any mammal in the Western Hemisphere. They roam across North and South America, but due to hunting pressures the mountain lion went extinct in the eastern…
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Meet a Cross-Border Cat—Ocelot

September 24, 2019

Known in Spanish as el tigrillo or ocelote, Leopardus pardalis is a neotropical cat that roams forests, scrublands, and savannas from South America northwards into the southern US. This spotted wildcat is roughly twice the size of a housecat, weighing up to 35 lbs. The ocelot is much smaller than the other spotted cat of…
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Meet a Cross-Border Cat—Bobcat

September 21, 2019

Lynx rufus is small wildcat that prowls deserts and forests from Central Mexico to Canada. Slightly larger than a house cat, these adaptable felines love to hunt rabbits throughout the borderlands and you just might see one strolling through your suburban neighborhood. Keep a watchful eye out for these nocturnal cats with short tails and…
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Wildlife at the Wall

September 19, 2019

The US-Mexico border runs through the heart of the Sky Island Region—a unique continental crossroads between temperate and neotropical worlds—rich with both human and animal life. For millennia, wildlife freely roamed between major mountain chains of the Sierra Madres and the Rocky Mountains, thriving in the Sky Islands that rise up from the desert southwest…
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In Arizona’s Santa Rita Mountains, plans for the giant Rosemont mine have unleashed a battle.

May 16, 2019

The Trump administration approved a new copper mine in Arizona. Opponents say it would destroy creeks and damage wildlife habitat where jaguars roam.

Responding to the extinction crisis in the Sky Islands

May 15, 2019

It’s been a tough month of bad news for wildlife, water, and all of us that call the Sky Island region home. Amidst a raft of destructive proposals, the UN released a new definitive report on the state of our natural world. The report details the destruction we humans have wreaked on Earth’s web of…
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