Volcan Mountain Foundation

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San Diego County, California

VMF Wildlife Imaging Team (WIT)

Keeping Our WITs About Us! VMF's Wildlife Imaging Team 

In 2015 the Volcan Mountain Foundation started the Wildlife Imaging Team to learn about the wildlife on Volcan Mountain. Motion-detecting cameras were placed in different habitats including the riparian zone of the Santa Ysabel Creek ― the headwaters of the San Dieguito River. The motion-detecting cameras are managed by dedicated volunteers who download and review the images every month and enter the information into a database. While the program cannot track specific animals, the data allows VMF to understand the presence of different species at different times of the year.

What did we learn? That the Volcan Mountains are home to diverse wildlife. In addition to mule deer, there is bobcat, coyote, gray fox, western squirrel, raccoon, opossum, and various birds who live on this 15-mile long range. Some of the most exciting photos captured are of mountain lions.

Since San Diego County wildlife habitats and corridors continue to shrink due to development, we know that the Volcan Mountains are one of the last places in the county that support larger mammals as well as smaller rare animals such as the western spotted skunk, badger, and ringtail. The information obtained from the program continues to help to make the case for land preservation and the fight against species disease and extinction.

The Volcan Mountain Foundation shares its gathered information with other organizations including the San Diego Management and Monitoring Program. Click here to see WIT's findings and data analysis on SDMMP's website.  

The Volcan Mountain Foundation wishes to thank the volunteers who have spent countless hours making this program possible, including Susan and Bill Carter who led the way for 15 years as well as Angie Brenner, Judy Kemp, Alan Marvin, Richard Louv, and Don Whitson for their dedication and love of nature. Also, VMF wishes to thank Amy Eppert and Professors Dr. Mike Mooring and Dr. Ryan Botts of Point Loma Nazarene Unitversity.