Afton State Park was the first site monitored with remote cameras for TAO. Our camera monitoring has provided important information for park managers working to implement habitat improvement projects in the park. Afton State Park is an important park because it is close to the metro area and accessible for many people living in urban areas in Minnesota. This is a place where many young people begin to form their connection to the outdoors and a place where families can explore grassland, woodland, and riparian habitats together.
Our remote cameras have captured images of several common species such as White-tailed deer, Striped skunk, Raccoons, Gray and Red fox, Gray and Red squirrels, and Woodchucks. We have also enjoyed the camera captures of raptors such as Red-tailed hawks and Turkey vultures. We have many people reporting sightings of coyotes, and we were surprised how long it took to capture really good pictures of coyotes. Wild canids are especially camera shy and try to avoid places with human scent. This behavior has served them well as coyote abundance is on the rise in human-dominated landscapes.
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