Our research team from CSU Channel Islands would very much appreciate your help reporting any living, wounded, or dead wildlife in or around our unfolding wildfire areas. Please fill out and WIDELY SHARE our link to our animal observation tool. We are interested in all animal observations you can share, now and over the ensuring weeks.
Click here for our survey.
Feel free to text this link to whomever might be able to help us out: https://arcg.is/Wj9SK0
Things have been unfolding rapidly over these last few days and I haven’t had the time to do detailed posts as I would normally do. Suffice it to say, our Pirate Lab has been woking on understanding how human development and activities impact wildlife for some time. Please check out this previous post from 11 months ago (as our nearby Thomas Fire was still unfolding) which summarizes our interest in wildlife.
Wildlife In SoCal
Our Pirate Lab, aided by hundreds of students from our ESRM Program’s Conservation Biology classes, has been documenting road kill along the varied networks of roads across Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles Counties for the past 14 years. This study was designed to both help us understand the impacts of ecological fragmentation and the relative abundance of vertebrates across our region. As such, we have an excellent handle of the baseline or “background” mortality rates of animals across the south coast. In the wake of 2017’s Thomas Fire and then our recent Hill and Woolsey Fires, the question now becomes how have the flames of 2017 and 2018 impacted our wildlife populations across Los Angeles County, Ventura County and our wider SoCal region.
Insights gleaned from our 2013 Camarillo Springs Fire and 2017 Thomas Fire are setting the stage for understanding the impacts from our current Hill and Woolsey Fire conflagrations. In short, it seems that smaller-bodied critters take it on the chin and are disproportionately killed by heat, flames, and/or smoke. They are similarly more disadvantaged in the ensuing weeks and months as these animals are disproportionately insectivorous or granivorous and/or dependent upon vegetation for refuge/denning.
We Need YOU
To fully understand what is indeed happening with our wildlife, we need data. And while our students and colleagues are doing their part, we really need YOU. The best way to get this data is to use all of you who are out and about around the region to help us by telling us what you have seen already and what you are seeing now. Please report any animals you saw in the lead up to these fires, during the fires themselves, and animals you are now observing post-fires.
Our Wildlife Tracker
Our tools is anonymous. There is an option to volunteer your contact info if you wish, but this is optional and will always be held in confidence. Our reporting tool will work anywhere and is cross platform, but is optimized to work right from your favorite web browser on your mobile phone.
All questions are voluntary, but the more info you can provide, the better we can understand fire impacts upon our critters.
Our survey asks:
- Animals Status (living, hurt, dead)
- Rough Size of the animal (small, medium, or large)
- Best guess as to the Species (even a stab at what it might be is helpful)
- When you saw it
- Where you saw it
- The ecological community where you saw it (grassland, riparian corridor, etc.)
- Was the animal alone or in a group?
You can also upload pictures of your animal if you have any and there is an option to give us any more detailed comments or observations you may have.