The Sonoran Sky Islands make up about 45,000 acres in northern Sonora in northwestern Mexico and the southwestern United States. The terrain ranges in elevation from deep valleys to cloud-piercing peaks, and covers several major biogeographic zones.
Between the mountains and canyons, along the river, a thriving world of vulnerable flora and fauna can be found hiding in the long grasses of the savannah or in the ranch’s lush oak woodlands. Ocelots and jaguar skulk in the shadows, turkeys strut around in the bushes, and black bears look for berries and fish..
Recent photos taken by trail cams set up by the Madrean Discovery Expedition project show that these species are thriving.
The American black bear’s territory extends into Mexico in Sonora and Coahuila.
It is classified as a threatened species in Mexico, and in the Sonoran Sky Islands, is only common in a few mountain ranges.
Trail camera images caught in the Sierra Huachinera in the northernmost Sierra Madre Occidental shows that these black bears are actually not completely black.
Researchers used cans of sardines nailed to a tree to attract animals to a spot near the trail cameras.
The bears seem to love the fishy treats. The young ones even started playing with the can.
A group of gregarious cholugos (coati mundis) were photographed in the Sierra Huachinera by the MDE trail cameras.
Coatis, relatives of the raccoon, have long been threatened by habitat loss.
According to the World Land Trust, “The species is widespread and relatively common in areas of intact habitat, but populations are under threat from hunting and the destruction and fragmentation of forest in Central and South America. However, the level of threat and the relative decline in numbers is not well known as this species is relatively unstudied.”
The Coatis seem to be thriving in the Sierra Huachinera.
Wild turkeys are often caught by the trail cameras set out by Madrean Discovery Expedition.
These images show evidence of turkey chicks, but you may need to look closely to see them &emdash; they are very camouflaged!
Importance of Madrean Discovery Expedition
Madrean Discovery Expeditions, a Signature Program of Greater Good Charities, is dedicated to exploring, studying, and protecting the Madrean Archipelago, a series of unique ecosystems that range from New Mexico and Arizona to Mexico. Throughout the year, groups of uniquely qualified and multinational participants come together to record the plants and animals of this incredible region, focusing on the vastly understudied region of Sonora, Mexico. This information is then stored in an open-source database for the world to share, study, and use to preserve these ecosystems forever.
The MDE has amassed 57,184 biodiversity records in this studied region, assisted in collecting them by 615 international volunteers. The team has accomplished 20 expeditions, and currently has 45 trail cameras set up throughout the Sonoran Sky Islands.
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Check out the latest from Madrean Discovery Expeditions
Look at these images of thriving wildlife captured on MDE trail cams.
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