Ahead of the massive, billion-dollar makeover the Los Angeles River is set to receive, conservationists are busy gathering the information they need to create revitalization programs they'll try to get funded once the money comes. First on the list of things to do is figure out what local animals use the river and how they use it. Is it a habitat or a highway? In order to answer these questions, KPCC reports, a team from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles set up four trail cameras along the river near Atwater Village. What they captured was a very active wildlife scene.
Though two cameras were stolen before their information could be collected, footage from the remaining two cameras shows the exciting diversity of animals that move through the area, including "waterfowl, raccoons, rats, coyotes," and many others. (But so many rats.)
How much the river rises and falls according to the rainfall is instantly noticeable from these images, and of course the water level affects what kind of animals appear. "When the habitat changes to a waterway, animals that would be able to walk across are excluded from that area, and animals that are comfortable or amphibious are able to take advantage of that area," says one of the NHM's biologists working on the project.
All the critters that turned up on the tape were basically usual suspects, but biologists have their fingers crossed for a rare sighting: a bobcat. "Having them [bobcats] documented in an area like this means that this is a being used as a corridor and that it's wild enough to support more sensitive species that need more space, more cover, and [are] a little bit more elusive," one of the biologists says. He added that a colleague of his had recently discovered a dead bobcat near the 2 Freeway, so it might not be too long until one is spotted along this section of the river.