In early October I headed back into the Ghost Valley to check my trail camera. I hadn't been down to check it since late July, so I was eager to see what the camera had captured over the past couple of months.
On my way to the camera I came across these Moose tracks. They were a pretty decent size and it was heading roughly in the direction of my camera, so I was hoping it strolled by as I don't have many photos of Moose yet.
|Pretty decent size when compared with my size 12 hikers|
|The dry lake bed of the final Ghost Lake. This is the most vegetation I've seen on the lake at one time.|
As I approached the spot where my camera was located I was surprised and shocked to see that the tree it was attached to was now in several pieces. Somebody had used a chainsaw to cut the tree in half and steal my camera. I couldn't believe it. My camera was a forty-minute walk from the nearest vehicle access point, so somebody had to go to an awful lot of work to steal it. They likely wouldn't be carrying a chainsaw around with them, so they had to make a special trip back to my camera site with a chainsaw in order to steal it.
I had done everything in my power to protect the camera including keeping it in a security case, attaching the security case to the tree with several screws, using a python cable lock to secure the whole set-up, and placing it in a remote location that was difficult to find. At the end of the day though, all of that wasn't enough to prevent it from being taken.
Two scenarios came to mind once my anger had subsided. The first was that this individual was doing something he/she shouldn't have been doing (ie: poaching) and upon noticing my camera was fearful of getting caught so he/she decided to take it. The second option was that this person really wanted a wildlife camera of their own and opted to use the forest as their own personal shopping mall, instead of purchasing one like the rest of humanity. Either way this individual really, really wanted my camera for one reason or another and went to a lot of work to obtain it!
|Before and after the theft!|
Needless to say I was pretty discouraged about the whole situation, but I don't want that to be the end of my camera project. I have decided that I am going to purchase a new one and find a different location to set it up. I haven't decided on the model of camera yet or where I want to place it. I think I might shy away from the Ghost Valley area, because it has become very much like the wild west; an extremely busy place filled with a bunch of yahoos that have very little regard for the natural world.
Stay tuned for the next chapter in my wildlife camera saga!