Wildlife at Golden Ears Provincial Park are far from being camera shy since the park closed to visitors in early April.
The Wildlife Coexistence Lab with the University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Forestry collect data from the provincial park for research on human-wildlife coexistence and recently shared video of a cougar and her two kittens roaming in the Maple Ridge park.
Anecdotally there have been reports of more wildlife sightings in the areas of the park that would normally have many visitors at this time, said Cole Burton, assistant professor in the department of forest resources management at UBC who leads the lab.
B.C. Parks were closed across the province on April 8 in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19, but Burton believes it is too early to determine whether park closures to human traffic is playing a role in wildlife behaviour.
“We have remote cameras (camera traps) monitoring wildlife in the park, but it is too early for us to say anything about specific responses to the park closures,” he said. “We are only just now able to collect images from some of the cameras and are in the process of reviewing them.”
The research lab explains in their caption of the video that a UBC student is using the data to investigate “how terrestrial mammals are impacted by recreation and logging” at the park.
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Whilst we #StayHome #cameratraps continue to collect critical data on a plethora of amazing species. Check out this super cool cougar Mom and her two (rather large) kittens in Golden Ears Provincial Park, BC where #UBC MSc student Michael Procko (@xprockox) and partners @alouetteparks @yourbcparks are investigating how terrestrial mammals are impacted by recreation and logging. #WildCo #wildlife #goldenears #UBCForestry
“It provides an interesting (and obviously unexpected) opportunity for us to learn more about how wildlife are affected by our recreational activities in parks,” said Burton. “Hopefully this knowledge can help inform policies that promote human-wildlife coexistence.”