The Secret Lives of Wild Animals — Text-only | Flash Special Report
See the world through a deer’s eyes as he moves through forest and field.
MALE AND FEMALE DEER TOUCHING HEADS
NARRATOR: Wildlife ecologists are addressing several critical issues that affect whitetail deer, including an
DEER FORAGING AT EDGE OF ROAD
alarming increase in deer-vehicle collisions.
Professor of Wildlife Conservation, Joshua Millspaugh.
MILLSPAUGH: The current technologies
DEER IN FIELD
that we have available limit us
DEER LOOKING AT CAMERA
to placing dots, essentially, on a map showing locations of deer.
FACE OF DEER
We don’t have any sense of what the deer actually see at those points
DEER AT EDGE OF HIGHWAY
and how they’re responding to roads, for instance. It’s very likely there are certain habitat
DEER BY CURVE IN HIGHWAY
conditions and landscape configurations around roads that might actually funnel deer toward them.
MALE AND FEMALE DEER IN FIELD
So the opportunity to see what they see at those points is
critical, we think, to our understanding of how they respond to roads.
INSET: VARIOUS SCENES FROM DEER’S POINT OF VIEW
NARRATOR: Enter DEERCAM—created to allow researchers to see the world from a deer’s perspective.
MALE DEER WEARING MOUNTED CAMERA
MILLSPAUGH: We mounted the camera itself on the deer’s head — the male deer — and we had an antenna that was up about 10 meters high.
INSET: SCENES FROM DEER’S POINT OF VIEW
The video was transmitted directly from the camera, detected by the antenna, and then recorded on a TV-VCR combination. So, we obtained real-time video information that was recorded automatically, 24 hours. It was just a continuous process.
The research that we’ve conducted thus far has all been within captive facilities within 10-acre enclosures, so they were not free-ranging deer. Within the next couple of years, we’re going to take this in the wild.
The exciting thing about this is with the new technologies,
smaller cameras with lighter weight cameras, we really will have
the opportunity to study the other wildlife species as well.
This is not just about white-tail deer, but it’s about further
Opportunities, at least to understand wildlife in their natural
habitat, we’ve never had before.
Researchers have dreamed of this day, where we would have the
opportunity to see what wildlife see.
Joshua J. Millspaugh, University of Missouri, Columbia
Hal Korber, Pennsylvania Game Commission
Missouri Department of Conservation
Donna Dewhurst, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Ken Hammond, USDA
Cliff Braverman, National Science Foundation
Susan Bartlett, National Science Foundation
Gwendolyn Morgan, National Science Foundation
S2N Media, Inc.