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Critters Gone Wild

Candid cameras on Mount Tam benefit scientists and animal lovers alike.

Three years ago, One Tam, a community initiative dedicated to maintaining the long-term health of Mount Tamalpais, installed the Critter Cam. In order to achieve 24-hour surveillance of the mountain, crews planted 100 cameras laid out in a systematic grid, hidden in trees and foliage throughout the woods.

The Critter Cam, also known as the Marin Wildlife Picture Index Project, is meant to give researchers a glimpse of what animals do in their spare time away from humans. Now, millions of images later, One Tam has enough data to establish a baseline of current conditions on the mountain and a better understanding of the habits of over a dozen species. With this intel, they can take steps to better protect wildlife in a rapidly changing world.

One Tam governs the crown jewel of the county and is always looking for volunteers. The website offers a wealth of knowledge and myriad volunteer opportunities, visible on our calendar of events page. For an afternoon of wildlife science there’s the Mount Tam Wildlife Symposium taking place October 26. The summit will feature results from the Wildlife Picture Index, so expect lots of cute photos paired with serious findings.

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