The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) needs the public's help tracking some elusive creatures.
The Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory, sponsored by the DNR, keeps track of sightings of rare species in the state. They're looking specifically for photos and observations of eastern spotted skunks and white-tailed jackrabbits.
Information submitted by regular people helps the DNR get a better picture of how common the animals are. It can also inform updates to the Wisconsin Endangered and Threatened Species list.
Eastern spotted skunks
The eastern spotted skunk has always been rare in Wisconsin, but there are records of them in the state. They were reported decades ago in Wisconsin, but this summer the DNR had reports of them in Dane County and Bayfield County.
The eastern spotted skunk is smaller than the average skunk, at about 1-2 feet long and 1-4 pounds. It has white "streaking" or marbling on black fur, and a distinctive white upside-down triangle on its forehead.
These jackrabbits were more common in the state at the beginning of the 20th century, but they haven't shown up in surveys in years. Small numbers of them are found in Minnesota, and officials want to know if they're still around in Wisconsin as well.
The white-tailed jackrabbit is about 2 feet long and weighs 6-10 pounds. Their tails are white and they have very long, black-tipped ears.