Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: New York
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

New York Project

New York Mammal Atlas

September 2020 - April 2023


Participating Agencies

  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

The New York Mammal Atlas seeks to provide data on the distribution of mammals in New York State and to evaluate the population status of selected mammals which are
rare or of particular management interest. Research from the mammal atlas will inform the status assessment updates of mammalian Species of Greatest Conservation Need and Species of Potential Conservation Need (SPCN). Distribution data will help evaluate whether SPCN may warrant some other status, and if other native mammal species may merit additional protections. Distribution and population status information is needed in order to determine specific conservation actions that could be taken to improve the population status of selected mammal species.

The Mammal Atlas will involve both small mammal trapping as well as the use of remotely activated trail cameras. The use of citizen science approaches is increasing, and the NYCFWRU developed the iSeeMammals App specifically for black bear research. However, there is great opportunity to expand the utility of iSeeMammals to
allow citizen scientists to contribute camera trapping images to help collect data for the Mammal Atlas. NYCFWRU will design a statewide camera trap survey to detect mammal species in New York. Citizen science data projects collect hundreds of thousands of images, which require identification, often using humans and hundreds of hours of staff time. Recent approaches using machine learning can identify species using an automated process. NYCFWRU may develop an automated species identification algorithm for camera trap images in New York that will significantly reduce staff time in tagging images. NYCFWRU will evaluate data collected from the central NY fisher study and previous black bear research that used camera trapping and estimate occupancy of the following species: Virginia opossum, coyote, red fox, gray fox, black bear, striped skunk, raccoon, marten, fisher ermine, long-tail weasel, mink, bobcat, deer, chipmunk, woodchuck, gray squirrel, fox squirrel, red squirrel, flying squirrel (N & S), beaver, eastern cottontail, New England cottontail, snowshoe hare.