SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Under cover of darkness, wild animals lurk in canyons and open space preserves all over San Diego County.

Volunteers with the San Diego Tracking team keep tabs on animal movements using motion-activated, hidden cameras.

Packs of coyotes are a pretty common sight, along with gray tailed foxes, deer, bobcats and an occasional mountain lion.

The tracking team demonstrated their efforts during a recent trip to Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, just one of many locations countywide where the volunteers conduct animal surveys.

Their mission is to log where wildlife lives and how animals migrate through open spaces surrounded by residential neighborhoods.

Team members located deer, coyote and bobcat tracks in the canyon.

“They’re going all the way up the fingers of the canyon and stopping right at the edges of the houses.” said team president Denise Harter.

One of the best places to track wildlife is along creek beds and underneath bridges, corridors that animals use to cross road and freeways.

“We found an intersection of several trails. It must be just the right distance from the water and the right distance from the people trail,” said Harter.

Information collected by the team is logged and helps evaluate the success of habitat conservation efforts. as well as the health of the species.

The San Diego Tracking Team is always looking for new volunteers to help out. The team conducts regular volunteer training sessions and workshops throughout the county.