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CNET News Video: High-tech cameras capture wildlife

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CNET News Video: High-tech cameras capture wildlife

2:41 /

Because many wild animals are nocturnal and wary of humans, it can be extremely difficult for naturalists to observe their behavior or keep track of species populations. But now wildlife biologists are turning to high technology to capture every furry footstep and each flap of a wing. CNET's Kara Tsuboi reports.

-The mountain lions, the bobcat, the coyotes. -These are the animals that greet Trevor Hebert on his computer every morning. -Possums, skunks, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, great horned owls, hawks, jays. -These creatures all call Jasper Ridge home, a biological preserve owned by Stanford University in Northern California. To capture these images, Hebert has built an installed 25 steel cameras and 6 video cameras all around the 1200-acre property. -This is a-- a-- a digital wireless camera track and it has an infrared motion sensor that detects the body heat of an animal. And when that animal passes by, it triggers a picture, which is then transmitted wirelessly at a base station at our facility. -The cameras also have an infrared flash that??s imperceptible to the animals and the batteries are all solar powered -We??re really reducing the amount of disturbance in-- in-- in the landscape that would affect animal behavior and so the animals are able to act more naturally. -The photos and videos collective from Jasper Ridge give researchers baseline data for the local animal population, which sometimes can yield surprises. -When we started seeing basically weekly pictures of mountain lions at certain times of the year, we were pretty amazed. -Recently, incredible camera [unk] footage has emerged from around the world, showing of rare or hard to observe species like these elusive cross river gorillas from Cameroon, playful tiger cubs from Sumatra, a rhino from Borneo, and a wolverine from Northern California. -This was the first time a documented-- a documented proof of a wolverine since, I think, the 1920s. Sierra Pacific Industries rotates its 100 cameras over 750,000 acres of timberland to keep an eye on local species. Spotting a rare carnivore was a fluke. -Really wolverine isn??t even in your reality. So, you??re really not even thinking that I hope I get a wolverine in, you know, this set of pictures. That was pretty exciting. -The wolverine nicknamed Buddy has been photographed over 5 consecutive winters, giving biologists a chance to make sure he??s healthy and to spot any potential offspring. -That??s always-- The want for Buddy from everyone is to find Buddy a girlfriend. -Hopefully one day she too will be captured on film. In San Francisco, I??m Kara Tsuboi, cnet.com for CBS News.

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