Naturalia, our partner in Mexico, is collaborating with us on our binational Border Wildlife Study (BWS). Since early March of this year, we have captured photos and video 24/7 of wildlife along 34 miles of the U.S. – Mexico border. We have 60 cameras organized in seven blocks located within 3 km from the border. Six are on the U.S. side and now we have our first block of cameras on the Mexican side of the border. Because of its close proximity to two American protected areas (Coronado National Forest and Coronado Memorial), Rancho Los Fresnos which is managed by Naturalia, is the ideal location for Mexican cameras on the southern end of the Huachuca Mountains. Although the pandemic delayed the installation of these cameras, five weeks ago Naturalia installed the BWS camera array in Los Fresnos and we are very excited about the new data coming in from south of the border.
The camera array at Los Fresnos will enable us to study border wildlife and their habitats as a whole – as an ecologically unified region – something that contrasts with the idea of a divided border where things on one side are separated or independent from things on the other side. The data collected from these cameras will also allow us to understand more about the value of a place like Los Fresnos, a reserve that is certified as an area voluntarily destined to conservation (ADVC in Spanish). In the Sky Islands region in Mexico, the Ajos-Bavispe reserve is the only federal protected area, therefore, areas of private conservation such as Los Fresnos are particularly important.
Naturalia’s staff at Los Fresnos, directed by Gerardo Carreón, go to the field monthly to collect the memory cards from the cameras, check the batteries, and make sure that the cameras are working correctly. This sometimes means long days of driving and hiking through grasslands and oak woodlands, but the effort is certainly worth it. A few days ago, we received some of the first images from Los Fresnos featuring white-tail deer, coyotes, and antelope jackrabbit. Enjoy the first BWS wildlife photos from Mexico below. We will soon have many more images from Los Fresnos and we can´t wait to see what we find.
The work that Naturalia has been doing at Los Fresnos is not just about wildlife monitoring, we have also partnered with them to study, restore, and protect springs and riparian ecosystems, but we will tell you all about this in a following post soon!