Many of the animal species we observe during the BioBlitz are only visually observed, or recorded through some other non-invasive means, such as track plates or infrared cameras. Some species, such as turtles, fish, and bats, are caught in specialized nets or traps, and released, unharmed, after they have been identified. All vertebrate animal trapping and handling activity is regulated by permits from the DEC and from CUNY’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). In most cases, only taxon leaders may directly handle animals, and all taxon leaders will be able to explain the procedures they use to identify and study animals, and why it is important to do so.
A small number of insects and spiders and potentially some mollusks (such as slugs) are trapped and humanely euthanized so that they can be studied in a lab. (If you have specific questions about procedures, you can ask a taxon leader.) Taking samples to a lab allows for more accurate species identification, which is an important part of studying the area’s ecosystem. If you want to be on a team with only vegan activity, you may indicate this when you register.
If you want to know more about why it’s important to collect specimens, check out this video.