Cameras capture Appalachian Trail antics

Nov. 14, 2007 at 7:15 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Researchers have chronicled what wild animals do along the Appalachian Trail in the eastern United States when they don't think humans are looking.

Scientists at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington used motion-sensitive cameras to photograph wildlife along a segment of the famous footpath in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, compiling a 1,900-photograph album of everyday animal life, The Washington Post reported.

The pictures from the study, which ended in October, show wild horses and domestic dogs, oblivious deer and inquisitive bear cubs, researchers said.

"There is some wildness left out there," said William McShea, a Smithsonian ecologist who led the research. "We hike during the day and they hike at night."

The 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail runs from Maine to Georgia, providing animals a stretch of wilderness in the East Coast's disjointed habitats, scientists said.

The goal of the Smithsonian project, part of an effort to study air, water and wildlife along the trail's length, was to document animal traffic along a nearly 600-mile stretch.

The most frequently photographed animal was the white-tailed deer. Researchers said they didn't expect to find a large number of black bear, but spotted them at 75 of the 273 camera locations.

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