Monday, November 17, 2014

Motion-activated camera captures wildlife and an unexpected visitor


By Ann Briggs

They’re big, beautiful and majestic, but when they wander onto high-speed highways the results can be deadly; we’re talking about elk. Weighing in at more than 500 to 700 pounds, elk pose a serious safety risk for drivers and passengers in vehicle-wildlife collisions.

As part of an ongoing project, we’ve been studying wildlife crossings under Interstate 90 since 2010 in the North Bend area, where the number of elk-vehicle collisions has been increasing. On average, 16 elk-vehicle collisions have been recorded in this area each year over the past five years. In addition to tracking a growing urban elk herd, during this research we learned that one of two wildlife crossings in this area had the highest black bear use documented for any highway crossing structure in North America.

We’re developing plans to install an 8-foot-high fence along I-90 in the North Bend area. While a fence is an effective way to prevent collisions, it also blocks normal wildlife migration and may interfere with their access to habitats and food needed for survival. We use motion-triggered cameras at bridges and culverts to learn what species use these safe passages to cross under the interstate and how frequently. The information is vital to developing an effective project design that allows for safe wildlife crossings and addresses fencing needs.

All was well until Nov. 10, when we discovered that nine cameras in three locations had been stolen. The value of the stolen cameras, along with their protective steel boxes, media cards, rechargeable batteries and shielded padlocks, is estimated at $7,000. This is one of the biggest losses the program has experienced. Unfortunately, it’s brought our monitoring of structures in the North Bend area to an end; we’ve taken down all remaining cameras to prevent further loss to taxpayers.

A person of interest
We discovered that one camera, mounted in a tree not far from a stolen camera, photographed a person of interest carrying a long steel bar, his face covered by a bandana. We’d like to know who he is so that we can ask him some questions. If you recognize this person or have any other information, please call Kelly McAllister, WSDOT wildlife biologist, at 360 705-7426.

In the meanwhile, we’ll use the data we’ve gathered so far to move this important safety project forward. The fencing project is currently unfunded.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't you have insurance? It seems the wildlife project is important enough to push through this problem while looking for the thief.

Anonymous said...

Hmm so by your logic it's ok to steel as long as the person has insurance? Your taxes paid for those cameras you know???

Anonymous said...

The camera that took that photo costs $550. The steel case would be another $50. Throw in some batteries, a padlock and a memory card and you're out the door for $700. Is the extra $6,300 labor costs to strap it to a tree? What am I missing?

Anonymous said...

"The camera that took that photo costs $550. The steel case would be another $50. Throw in some batteries, a padlock and a memory card and you're out the door for $700. Is the extra $6,300 labor costs to strap it to a tree? What am I missing?"

Multiply it by 9. Nine cameras were stolen.

Anonymous said...

You are missing the comment that 9 were stolen, it adds up quick. It is chump change in the grand scheme of government funds. I am more disappointed in the fact that a decent wildlife protection program is going to suffer due to someones greed.

Anonymous said...

9 cameras

Anonymous said...

There were nine sets of camera, box, card, rechargeable batteries, 16-gb media card, shielded combination padlock and custom-built steel brackets stolen. That's why the total replacement cost is so high.

Anonymous said...

The fact that there were nine cameras stolen costing $7,000. Not just one.

Anonymous said...

It was 9 cameras stolen as the article states...

Anonymous said...

What are you missing? 8 more cameras


William Pace said...

What are you missing in the calculation? 8 more cameras

Anonymous said...

The extra $6300. - 8 additional cameras stolen.

Anonymous said...

Here is the manufacturer's Web site listing the MSRP mentioned above.

http://www.reconyx.com/shop/HC600_HyperFire_High_Output_Covert_IR/d/220/61

Anonymous said...

The extra $6300? 8 additional cameras were stolen!

Anonymous said...

I think they said they lost nine cameras and it cost them $7,000 total. If that's right, then the price seems reasonable.

Angelo said...

Well 6300 = 9x700. remember, 9 cameras in 3 locations???

Anonymous said...

Nine cameras were stolen. Multiply $700 by 9 and you get something close to $7000.

Anonymous said...

700 dollars, times nine!

Anonymous said...

Looks like his bandana is one of those skull face coverings seen predominantly on motorcycle riders.....

Anonymous said...

And he was wearing a leather jacket, so he obviously doesnt care about animals! Oh, and he used a steel bar used predominantly by construction workers...what a dirtbag! If we find him, can we strap him to a tree, glue salt pucks to him and watch the next wildlife encounter?

Anonymous said...

Difference between $700 and $7,000 is just govenment cost of business. They probably have a focus group of 5 who spent many hours and had many meetings reguarding equipment and placement. Its your tax dollars at work.

c180tom said...

“Person of Interest” equates to “poacher”, probably one who needs to support a meth habit.
WSDOT might enlist the help of real sportsmen (or drug detectives) by posting the model and serial numbers of the stolen game cameras. This might help the cameras be spotted and traced to a pawn shop, eBay or Craig’s list.

WSDOT said...


C180tom: Thank you for an excellent suggestion. Below are the model and serial numbers, should anyone see these being marketed:
Reconyx PC900 Hyperfire camera - Serial Number: F900FF05154557
Reconyx HC600 Hyperfire camera - Serial Number: H600HF10166893
Reconyx HC600 Hyperfire camera - Serial Number: H600HF10166885
Reconyx HC600 Hyperfire camera - Serial Number: H600HF10166875
Reconyx HC600 Hyperfire camera - Serial Number: H600HG02175025
Reconyx HC600 Hyperfire camera - Serial Number: H600HG02175228
Reconyx PC85 Rapidfire camera – Serial Number: PC33AC06006383
Reconyx PC85 Rapidfire camera – Serial Number: PC33AC06006374
Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Max – Serial Number: B120915130