A global initiative
In the spring of 2019, Wild about Saskatoon hosted a keynote address and workshop by Dr. Maureen Murray of the Urban Wildlife Institute at Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago. As a result of her visit here, we were able to bring together a team of partners to launch Saskatoon’s membership in UWIN, the Urban Wildlife Information Network. Saskatoon is only the second Canadian city (after Edmonton) to join this important, global initiative.
UWIN is an alliance of urban wildlife scientists committed to doing research to enhance the ability for people and wildlife to coexist in cities. Wild about Saskatoon is proud to work with the Meewasin Valley Authority, the Forestry Farm Park and Zoo (City of Saskatoon), and Dr. Ryan Brook’s lab at the University of Saskatchewan in bringing this exciting project to fruition.
UWIN uses “camera traps” to capture images and information about wildlife presence and behaviour in an array of urban habitats. Despite delays due to COVID-19, we expect data collection to begin by the fall of 2020. Once the pictures start to flood in, the intention is to post an edited image stream (with all humans filtered out) on the website Zoopolis. The public will be invited to help identify the species that are recorded.
Although we reached outside the country for expertise by contacting the Lincoln Park Zoo, Dr. Murray turned out to have close ties with western Canada. She did her doctoral work, on urban coyotes, at the University of Alberta and frequently works from her home in Calgary. An update on her research can be found here.