TTU Urban Wildlife Camera Study photographs wild predators in Lu - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

TTU Urban Wildlife Camera Study photographs wild predators in Lubbock neighborhoods

Flier (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs) Flier (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs)
Fox (Source: Carter) Fox (Source: Carter)
Raccoon (Source: Carter) Raccoon (Source: Carter)
Coyote (Source: Carter) Coyote (Source: Carter)
Study map (Source: Carter) Study map (Source: Carter)
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

Hundreds of Lubbock residents who live inside the Loop will become part of a Texas Tech Urban Wildlife Study that relies on cameras installed in their alleyways.

They each received informative fliers from Chris Carter, a Texas Tech graduate research assistant working for his masters in wildlife management, who wants to know more about the wild predator population within city limits.

He's looking to photograph foxes, coyotes, raccoons, possums, and similar animals.

"We're trying to figure out where they are, and where we think they're absent," he said, "and then we're going to go in and relate that to different environmental factors and kind of figure out if there's any correlation between why they're here."

Carter's department has purchased about 50 cameras for this, and Carter said he even got permission from LP&L to attach them to light poles in alleyways.

The study began last April, when he mapped out the areas where these cameras would go.

"We wanted to keep it fairly urban," he said, "so we could try to keep it within the Loop, but kind of within a limited area."

Carter has the support of his department, and of many undergraduate students.

"They're getting experience setting up cameras, communicating with private landowners, asking permission about being able to put the cameras in the alleys," said Warren Conway, the Bricker Endowed Chair in Wildlife Management, "and again, we haven't been able to do any of this without the support of the Lubbock community."

Before the cameras are installed, Carter and the undergraduates make sure residents know what's going on. The fliers have "Frequently Asked Questions" listed.

"I wanted to aim [the cameras] kind of more at dumpsters, so that the working theory is maybe they're using leftover trash of open dumpsters to get food," Carter said, "and so we knew that may be a place we might see them more often."

Since foxes are only about two feet tall, Carter said the cameras are low enough to respect privacy and would only capture a human from the waist down. Those images would then be immediately deleted once collected.

"You don't have to worry about it getting over fences," he said.

The hundreds of citizens Carter has talked to have mainly supported his study.

"Over six months of study, we've collected over 500,000 images," he said. "Within that, probably anywhere between 50,000 to 60,000 have been cats, had probably close to about 300 foxes, 300 possums, probably about 40 or 50 raccoons, and then maybe 20 pictures of coyotes in the area."

Todd Key is a resident of Quaker Heights, who hopes Chris's study will prove what he's said all along...that the wild predator problem in Lubbock needs to be addressed.

"I think something needs to happen before we have a child get bit or someone get attacked and have a rabies case or something like that," Key said.

However, Carter said these wild animals will usually not bother humans. 

For more information about this study, call (806) 470-5964 or email ttu.urbanwildlife@gmail.com.

If residents see any of these wild animals in their neighborhood, they can call City of Lubbock Animal Services by calling 311.

But if the animal is attacking another person or animal, they are asked to call 911.

Copyright 2016 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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