Professional wildlife tracker David Moskowitz captivated a full crowd on May 26 at Darwin’s Cafe with his knowledge and anecdotes on animal tracking. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

Tofino and Ucluelet locals learn to track animals

“Tracking is intimately connected to conservation.”

Local nature lovers received wildlife tracking training on May 26-28 from esteemed biologist and photographer David Moskowitz.

Hosted by the Raincoast Education Society, the three-day workshop taught participants how to find, interpret and follow the tracks and signs of wildlife.

Moskowitz opened the tracking weekend up with a public talk and slideshow at Darwin’s Café on Friday evening.

“Tracking is intimately connected to conservation. It brings animals into the light and inspires curiosity,” he said. “I think curiosity is my first instinct with tracks when you find them. Paying attention to tracks and signs can really enrich your experience.”

He encouraged people exploring the trails to take a moment to look at what’s around.

“I was on a really popular trail in the Olympics and I literally watched dozens of people walk past these mountain lion tracks on the side of the trail and they didn’t notice them. They were missing out on this opportunity to have an experience of this really cool creature,” Moskowitz recalled.

More than tracks, Moskowitz said to keep an eye out for signs, like claw marks on a tree or wild berries in scat, to identify the tracks of an animal.

“It’s not rocket science. You don’t need to be a genius. What basic observations can you make about the tracks? Are there multiple tracks? Where do they go?” he said.

Nowadays, Moskowitz noted that animal tracking is used for hunting and research projects.

“There is a lot of other research where the data that you use in the end of the project doesn’t come from tracking and signs, but you need tracking skills to get the data that you are after,” he said, providing an example of a mountain lion project he was part of in Colorado.

“We followed the tracks of a mountain lion until we found a carcass of an animal he was feeding on. We were actually trying to radio collar that animal so in finding that carcass we then put the carcass inside of the trap and then were able to trap and collar the animal.”

Moskowitz is the author and photographer of Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest and Wolves in the Land of Salmon.

His latest project is documentary called Last Stand: The Vanishing Caribou Rainforest. Anyone interested in learning more can visit: laststandfilm.org.

The next Raincoast Education Society workshop will run from June 9 -11 and delve into the world of west coast seaweeds. For more information visit: raincoasteducation.org.

Just Posted

Runners brave wet, windy weather for Ucluelet’s 20th Edge to Edge

“The spirit of the runners I have nothing but compliments.”

ELECTION 2019: NDP’s Gord Johns re-elected in Courtenay-Alberni

Conservative Byron Horner finishes second, with Green Party’s Sean Wood third

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

LIVE MAP: Results in Canada’s 2019 federal election

Polls are now closed across the country

ELECTION 2019: Here are the results from our 12 B.C. races to watch

Incumbents mostly won our 12 key races, but there were a few upsets too

VIDEO: Is the stethoscope dying? High-tech options pose threat

World-renowned cardiologist believes the device is just a pair of ‘rubber tubes’

B.C. parents sue city and province in 12-year-old daughter’s drowning at lake

Beverly Park drowned at Rotary Lake in Dawson Creek in August 2016

Island mom warning others as suspicious powder found in mail

“I was very uneasy … it could be coffee whitener or it could be something else in the bag.”

VIDEO: Chill with polar bears through an Arctic live cam

Cam reopens just ahead of Polar Bear Week

Aquilini companies deny negligence in U.S. vineyard fire that killed two kids

Fire occurred at Red Mountain Vineyard, located in southeast Washington State

Surrey cop killer gets new parole conditions

Surrey RCMP Constable Roger Pierlet, 23, was shot dead on March 29, 1974

Former Kelowna Hells Angels associate could be deported, court rules

David Revell has lost his fight against deportation from Canada

Alcohol available onboard BC Ferries starting Thursday

Beer and wine sales begin at 11 a.m. on select Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay sailings

Most Read