Project Update: Harriet the Hare is back!

Greetings Earth Rangers! Harriet the Hare hopping on in to say hello!

As the temperature starts to drop and winter gets closer and closer, I thought I’d check in with my friend Michael. Michael is a researcher at the University of Alberta who has been hard at work learning all about, well, me! Michael studies snowshoe hares, or more importantly, how climate change is affecting us. You see, every winter I switch from my summer brown to my fancy white winter coat, which helps me camouflage from predators – but with climate change causing winter to come later and later, I’m left sticking out like a sore thumb. As you can imagine, this fashion faux pas isn’t just embarrassing, it’s also dangerous!

Keeping track of exactly when our coats change, and how this affects a predator’s ability to spot us, can be tricky. Michael and his team need eyes on the site 24/7, so for a little help they turned to technology, setting up cameras across the study area. Michael says,

“Camera traps have been an amazing tool in wildlife research, allowing us to spy on the forest and collect information on wildlife that would have otherwise been impossible. Once the camera is in place, it can be left to collect data for years with minimal human effort.”

This sounds pretty cool to us, Michael – tell us more!

“We use camera traps for a variety of different projects. We use photos of snowshoe hares to look at coat colour of the population, to see if hares can adjust the rate they change colour to match yearly changes in snow cover. We also use camera traps to monitor which species scavenge in the ecosystem. Most importantly, we use the cameras to know what species are in our forest, and how many individuals there are of each species. We are using these photos to estimate the number of lynx, coyote, wolverine and several other predator species. This is important information for almost any research project on snowshoe hares, as hare populations are strongly influenced by predators.

Going through the photos is my favorite part of field work. You never know what you are going to find. We have seen marten and mink, which were thought to be extremely rare in the area. We have also photographed a turkey vulture, which has never been seen in southwestern Yukon. One of my favorite sightings is a hawk owl scavenging, which had never been observed before. Check out some of our photos for yourself!”

Hello curious lynx!

Ah! Cameras have been discovered!

That’s one big bear… oh boy!

Even the elusive wolverine makes an appearance!

What’s up, Mr. Mink?!

And of course, we save the best for last…

Thanks for sharing, Michael – these are amazing! What do you guys think these curious creatures were thinking when they got caught on camera? Share your best captions in the comments!

Do your part to help Snowshoe Hares by starting a Bring Back the Wild campaign today!

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386 Comments

  1. lailabird13 says:

    The snowshoe hare is cute but I’m also sad that some critters want to eat it

    [Reply]

  2. Duckylover1264 says:

    Cool article.

    [Reply]

  3. jack0626 says:

    The animal with the pure white eyes scared me why is it like that? #earth ranger!

    [Reply]

  4. Kennedybats says:

    so cute!!!!!

    [Reply]


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