ST. CHARLES, Mo.—The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announced today that sightings of the rare and virtual animals known as Pokémon (Pokémon digitalis) have been confirmed on both Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center in Kirkwood and the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles. The digitally-created creatures are generating a stir as the objects of the popular mobile device, scavenger hunt game, Pokémon Go.
“Pokémon Go is a geo-cashing game, that uses your data connection on a cell phone or tablet and your location to generate a cartoon-like map representation of where you are,” said MDC IT Field Support Specialist Don Prater. According to Prater, once the presence of a Pokémon is detected in the vicinity by a mobile device, users can attempt to “capture” the digital creature. “If successful, you will have captured the Pokémon and can add it to your Pokedex inventory,” he said.
Prater was able to confirm the presence of Pokémon creatures on the areas through smartphone photos.
“This is an amazing find,” said MDC Natural History Biologist Andrea Schumann. “Now that they’re actually on these areas, it gives us an excellent opportunity to study these new creatures and hopefully learn more about their life history.”
As to exactly where the Pokémon could be found, Schumann said that it might be hard to pin down. “The Busch Area is almost 7,000 acres in size, 3,000 of which are forest—in addition to grassland, cropland, old fields, prairie, and wetlands,” said Schuhmann. “At this time we don’t know enough about Pokémon to determine which habitat they would most likely be found in.”
Schuhmann said there might be no way of telling where among Powder Valley’s 112 acres of oak-hickory forests the creatures might be lurking either. She suggested some exploring of the areas might help locate it.
MDC recommends Busch Area visitors be on the lookout for the creatures while enjoying a day of fishing on one of the area’s 30 lakes, a hike on the hiking trails, or perhaps a bike ride on the three-mile hiking/biking trail or Hamburg Trail that runs through the area.
Schuhmann also said that birders using binoculars or spotting scopes to view some of the 268 bird species found on the area could be especially well-equipped to spot the creature.
MDC experts suggest a possible sighting of the creature could be possible somewhere on the more than two miles of trails at Powder Valley. Wheel chair-equipped Pokémon hunters might find the creature on the disabled-accessible Tanglevine Trail there. The indoor wildlife viewing gallery overlooking the array of feeders might also draw in the Pokémon.
“This is a great reason to get out to the Busch Conservation Area or Powder Valley and have the chance to see an amazing wildlife phenomenon,” Schuhmann said. “Even if you don’t get a glimpse of a Pokémon, there are plenty of fascinating aspects of nature to discover on both areas.”
MDC reminds Pokémon hunters to stay on trails always be aware of their surroundings, and observe all area hours and regulations.
The August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area is located on Highway 94 approximately two miles west of Highway 94. Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center is at 11715 Cragwold Road, near the intersection of I-44 and I-270. For more information on MDC areas and downloadable maps, go to http://short.mdc.mo.gov/Z4N.