The Flight of the Urban Wildlife

About two months ago, I shared a time-lapse from one of our Diyasaru Park trail cams, and asked our social media followers the following questions…

How many species can you identify? Which animal was most common? And did you see any fishing cats?

… and mentioned that I would reveal the answers the following weekend, but as per usual, this fell down to the bottom of my task list. My bad.

Here’s a little background on our camera trap stations. Diyasaru Park has been divided into numerous 100m x 100m grids, with each grid housing 10 trail cams. These cameras are left in a grid for four weeks before being rotated into the next grid.

This particular camera was set on one of the Park’s islands and was left out for seven weeks. Why seven? Well we were on an island-wide COVID-19 lockdown for three months, and all fieldwork came to a halt. I was able to rush out with my emergency field assistant (aka my handy dandy partner) to collect the cameras when the curfew was lifted for six hours at one point (to allow the general public to go out and buy provisions for the rest of the lockdown).

This was our first time working in 100% humidity and 32°C heat. But, I’m pretty excited to see how awesome my endurance will be by the time this pandemic is done and dusted.

This is also one of my favourite trap stations. We have so much fishing cat activity at this particular spot. It will definitely be a live-trap site once collaring starts up again.

Over the seven weeks, we were able to record 14 different species of urban wildlife.

White-breasted waterhen, Amaurornis phoenicurus

Purple heron, Ardea purpurea

Greater bandicoot rat, Bandicota indica

Greater coucal, Centropus sinensis

Indian palm squirrel, Funambulus palmarum

Watercock, Gallicrex cinerea

Indian porcupine, Hystrix indica

Fishing cat, Prionailurus viverrinus

Rodentia… Some kind of mouse I think…

Spotted dove, Spilopelia chinensis

Yellow-billed babbler, Turdoides affinis

Asian water monitor, Varanus salvator

Small Indian civet, Viverricula indica

Carpenter bee, Xylocopa sp.

Can you find it?

Out of the 1,148 images, 863 belonged to the porcupine. A species that often dominates our trail cams. There are just SO MANY of them!

They are pretty cute though, so it’s not so bad!

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