Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Assessing endangered marsh rabbit and woodrat habitat use and feral cat population dynamics using photographic, video, and RFID capture-recapture data

Duration

September 2011 - July 2016

Narrative

The lower keys marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri) and the Key Largo woodrat (Neotoma floridana smalli) are endangered species endemic to the Florida Keys. Their survival is threatened by a variety of factors including habitat change, sea level rise, and introduced predators like feral cats that thrive in human-dominated landscapes. Research has suggested that management actions focusing on the interactions among these factors are needed. Current management objectives include assessing the co-occurrence of marsh rabbits and cats, estimating the distribution and abundance of feral cat populations, and evaluating the efficacy of artificial structures and other restoration efforts for woodrats. We propose to use photographic, video, and RFID capture-recapture methodologies to inform the management of these two endangered species. Our primary objectives are to: (1) use camera trapping methods to validate marsh rabbit pellet count occupancy estimates and to estimate population size and movement of feral cats, and (2) use camera traps, video, and RFID tag monitoring to assess use of artificial structures by woodrats and to estimate the population size and movement of feral cats in woodrat habitat.

 

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 4

Masters Students: 3

Phd Students: 5

Post Docs: 3

University Staff: 25

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 28

Scientific Publications: 100

Presentations: 168

 

Personnel

Funding Agencies

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Links

North Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. North Carolina State University
  2. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
  3. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. U.S. Geological Survey
  5. Wildlife Management Institute