Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Giant Kangaroo Rat Population Monitoring in Panoche Valley


November 2015 - June 2016


Giant kangaroo rats (GKR) are a keystone species throughout their range including the Carrizo Plain. The current four year drought and the associated lack of vegetative growth have resulted in precipitous declines in GKR populations, especially during the past two years. Kit fox populations have followed this decline and now fewer than 200 kit foxes are estimated to reside on the Carrizo Plain National Monument. The objective of the project will be to increase giant kangaroo rat survival and production by providing supplemental food at three locations in the Ciervo-Panoche Natural Area. The overall project concept is to reduce the population declines for GKR and to test the effectiveness of a supplemental feeding program. Supplemental feeding will no longer be needed when more normal rainfall returns and GKR numbers recover. Giant kangaroo rats will be the primary target species; however, given the role of GKR as ecosystem engineers, benefits to GKR populations will cascade throughout the ecosystem and provide direct benefits to a wide array of San Joaquin Valley species including San Joaquin kit fox, San Joaquin antelope squirrel, blunt-nosed leopard lizard, and the California jewelflower.


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 237

Phd Students: 141

Post Docs: 52

University Staff: 250

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 645

Scientific Publications: 1878

Presentations: 4074



  • Margaret WilzbachCo-Principal Investigator

Funding Agencies

  • California Department of Fish and Wildlife


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey