San Diego Tracking Team teaches volunteers to track wild animals in areas of San Diego

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animal2The San Diego Zoo and the Zoo Safari Park are wonderful places to interact with wild animals, but did you know there are other opportunities to be had right out in the urban metropolitan environment of America’s Finest City itself?  The San Diego Tracking Team offers just such a wild experience.

Tracking training seminars are held by the Team each month. Attendees to the classes are shown how to keep records of three different signs of animal activity they find in the urban wild. These are: animal tracks, scat (excrement), and fur. Further instruction teaches the methods of noticing patterns in the animal signs, and understanding the results of events by the impact on the observable environment. These events include floods, fires, and building  development.

This modern practice of animal tracking started locally 30 years ago, when two existing groups, the Friends of Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve and the San Diego Biodiversity Project decided to undertake a county-wide mapping endeavor. The groups combined their forces in a joint project to draw the initial maps of what became wildlife corridors within the rapidly developing urban landscape of San Diego County.animal3

As a result of this effort, with the assistance of conservation biologists and other animal behavioral scientists, the current wildlife corridors of Los Peñasquitos Canyon, Mount Woodson, Calavera Preserve, Rose Canyon and Mission Trails Regional Park were established and added to San Diego City and County planning maps and strategies.

The San Diego Tracking Team came into being in 1999 as a result of the combining of the Mt. Woodson Wildlife Trackers and the Los Peñasquitos Tracking Team. As part of their activities, volunteers are trained and then go into the corridors every three months for early morning 2-hour expeditions, collecting data and recording it by hand.

animal4The information is later entered into the Team’s extensive database, and shared with County and State organizations and agencies, including those responsible for the maintaining of parks, the supervising of wildlife corridors, and the cooridating of conservation and land management activities.

To find further facts about the San Diego Tracking Team and the training and services offered, go to

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