Caught In the Act: ESLT’s Wildlife Camera Strikes Again!

Badgers can be found in the Eastern Sierra ranging from the Owens Valley up to 12,000 feet, and exist throughout much of western North America. Their numbers are dwindling, though: their rampant digging has caused them to be viewed as pests.

Existing in much of western North America, Badgers can be found in the Eastern Sierra from the Owens Valley up to 12,000 feet. Their numbers are dwindling, though: their rampant digging has led them to be viewed as pests.

Lately, the ESLT team has been out on the land monitoring our conservation easements; with the permission of our landowners, we’ve also set up wildlife cameras in strategic locations to catch our local animal species in action. A few weeks ago, one camera caught a shot of this furry little critter – an American Badger! Badgers are marmot-sized animals covered with grizzled gray fur. They use their muscular legs and sharp claws as tools to excavate dens that can extend below the surface for up to thirty feet. Leaving these dens around dusk to search for food, badgers also use their digging abilities to uncover prey – particularly small rodents, which can benefit agricultural production by reducing pest populations. The California Department of Fish and Game now lists the American Badger among their “Species of Special Concern.”

Bobcats are crepuscular animals, meaning that they are typically only active from around sunset to midnight, and then again in the early dawn hours. It is unusual to see a bobcat like this out and about in full daylight!

Bobcats are typically active from sunset to midnight, and then again in the early dawn hours. It is unusual to see a bobcat like this out and about in full daylight!

On Monday, Aaron and Kay visited one of our other easements and collected several great photos from another wildlife camera.

This Bobcat (right) graciously posed for us as he gazed out across the wetlands. Territorial and solitary, bobcats are an elusive yet hardy species. The spotted and barred pattern of a bobcat’s coat helps camouflage the animal as it hunts prey – or as it is hunted itself. Though humans are the bobcat’s greatest danger, mountain lions have been known to conflict with their smaller feline neighbors.

Like the bobcat, the coyote is often out and about after nightfall, hunting for rodents and other small mammals. They sometimes live and travel in small packs, though seeing a solitary coyote is no surprise. This coyote (below) was patrolling the edge of the Benton ponds in the same spot where the bobcat was seen, and was likely on the prowl, searching for a midnight meal.

The coyote is a recurring image in Native American mythology; it is often paired with the bobcat to emphasize a theme of duality. Whereas the bobcat is often associated with fog, the coyote is linked to wind - two opposing forces linked together in constant flux.

The coyote is a recurring image in Native American mythology; it is often paired with the bobcat to emphasize a theme of duality. Whereas the bobcat is often associated with fog, the coyote commonly represents wind.

More great photos from our wildlife camera:


Have you purchased tickets for ESLT’s Lands & Legacy Celebration?

ESLT’s annual Lands & Legacy Celebration is just around the corner! We hope you’ll join us on August 2nd and 3rd in Mammoth Lakes and help support our work to permanently preserve vital lands in the Eastern Sierra. The event features a benefit dinner with a special, regional menu, live music by local musicians String Theory, and a fabulous silent auction. We hope to see you there!

To read more about the weekend’s schedule, and to purchase your tickets online today, visit our ticketing webpage!

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