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Belize City, Belize

Hanson T.,University of California at Davis | Wiles G.J.,Wildlife Program | Gaydos J.K.,University of California at Davis
Biodiversity and Conservation | Year: 2016

Endangered species conservation faces well-documented funding shortfalls for recovery activities, but the listing process itself is also often hampered by limited resources at the federal, state, and provincial levels. In the United States, Canada, and other jurisdictions, the number of species proposed for listing has outpaced listing decisions, creating large backlogs of candidate species. In Washington State, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and The SeaDoc Society (SeaDoc), a nongovernmental university-based organization, entered into a unique public–private partnership to advance the state-level listing process for the tufted puffin (Fratercula cirrhata), a candidate species since 1998. Using privately-raised funds, SeaDoc hired a visiting scientist to co-author the status report with WDFW staff. This collaboration continued through editing, revising, peer review, and the public comment period, and resulted in the tufted puffin being listed as endangered in Washington. We discuss the advantages and potential pitfalls of this joint effort, as well as the broad applicability of this model in other jurisdictions with a backlog of species awaiting endangered species listing consideration. © 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Foster R.J.,Panthera | Harmsen B.J.,Panthera | Macdonald D.W.,University of Oxford | Collins J.,University of Southampton | And 3 more authors.
ORYX | Year: 2014

Millions of people throughout the tropics consume wild meat. Overhunting reduces food security for people and large predators, yet little is known of the impact of hunting in systems where people and predators target the same prey species. We collate published data on predator diet in Belize with interview data about the consumption of wild and domestic meat by Belizeans, to compare the wild-meat diets of humans, jaguars Panthera onca and pumas Puma concolor and assess the sustainability of the combined offtake by humans and jaguars. Six wild mammal species (nine-banded armadillo Dasypus novemcinctus, paca Cuniculus paca, collared peccary Pecari tajacu, white-lipped peccary Tayassu pecari, red brocket deer Mazama americana and white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus) comprised 7% of the animal-protein meals eaten by Belizeans. Overall, 80% of these meals were eaten by 20% of interviewees, suggesting a necessary role of wild meat for the minority. The same species were found in 69 and 86% of jaguar and puma scats, respectively. We estimate a national annual harvest of c. 4,000 tonnes of these six wild mammals by humans and jaguars, of which 78% is hunted by people. Sustainability is difficult to evaluate because prey population data are lacking in Belize. However, simple models suggest that a sustainable harvest at this rate would require higher prey population densities than averages recorded in hunted Neotropical forests. We emphasize the need for robust regional estimates of game species densities, to improve assessments of sustainability and inform hunting regulations. We recommend that the requirements of predators as well as those of people be considered when assessing wild meat harvests. Copyright © Fauna & Flora International 2014

Rice C.G.,Wildlife Program
Canadian Field-Naturalist | Year: 2010

Many species, including Mountain Goats (Oreamnos americanus), are known to visit mineral licks, but the extent and duration of use are poorly understood because most studies consist of observations at licks. I studied the movements to, from, and near mineral licks of 11 mountain goats in Washington wearing Global Positioning System (GPS) collars for a total of 169 goat-months of tracking and evaluated chemical composition of six mineral licks compared with reference soil samples. I recorded 101 mineral lick visits to 13 mineral licks. Each GPS fix was classified as moving toward a mineral lick, in the vicinity of a lick, on an excursion from a lick, moving away from a lick, or not associated with lick use. Depending on annual movement patterns associated with lick use, each Mountain Goat was classified as a Migrant (single lick visit of long duration, n = 3 Mountain Goats), Sojourner (few visits of short duration, n = 2), Commuter (many visits of short duration, n = 5), or Resident (lick within normal range of movements, n = 1). Most mineral lick visits took place 01 June-15 August with peak visitation about 14 June-29 July. Migrants typically stayed in the vicinity of licks about a month (but as long as 51 days) whereas other mountain goats visited licks for 0.1-8 days (median = 1 day). Migrants also tended to take longer and move farther than other Mountain Goats when on movements to and from licks. Most Mountain Goats moved toward mineral licks faster (km/hr) than they moved away from licks. All licks had higher concentrations of sodium than reference samples (1.5-27 times as high), although concentrations of calcium, potassium, and sulphate tended to be higher as well, whereas magnesium was not. Mineral lick visitation has costs (energetics of travel, reduced forage, and predation risk). Depending on the importance of these costs, mountain goats evidently use various strategies for exploiting mineral licks as exemplified by the movement types (migrant, sojourner, commuter, or resident). Notably, most of the Mountain Goats in this study crossed national forest, county and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife region boundaries to another to visit mineral licks. Thus, coordination among administrative units is needed in management of Mountain Goats and mineral licks they use.

Olson L.E.,Rocky Research | Sauder J.D.,316 16th Street | Albrecht N.M.,Wildlife Program | Vinkey R.S.,Montana Fish | And 2 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2014

Climate change impacts many species through shifts in habitat. The intensity of this impact will depend on the dispersal rates of the species, the patchiness of the environment, and the velocity of habitat change. Here we examine how dispersal affects projected future habitat availability for a threatened carnivore, the fisher (Pekania [. Martes] pennanti). We used non-invasive genetic sampling to detect fisher across their historical distribution in Montana and Idaho. This survey included 4846 non-invasive hair snares, of which 288 identified fishers through mitochondrial DNA analysis. We modeled the distribution of fisher across western Montana and northern Idaho using a suite of vegetative, topographic, and climatic variables. We modeled future distribution using a global climate model and two climate change scenarios (high emissions [A2] or reduced emissions [B2]) and three time steps (2030, 2060, and 2090). We incorporated the effects of dispersal ability and habitat patch size into our model by varying the distance and enforcing a minimum patch size at which newly created habitat could be colonized. We found that the probability of current fisher occurrence was highest given the presence of mesic forest types with tall trees, high annual precipitation, and mid-range winter temperatures. Future predictions show an increase in area of high-probability habitat under most dispersal assumptions. Interestingly, we found a large contrast in results when minimum patch size and species dispersal capabilities were considered. Our distribution model with full dispersal and no limits on patch size predicted a 24.5% increase in fisher habitat by 2090, whereas a dispersal limit of 1. km through non-habitat (agricultural fields and urban zones) and a minimum patch size yielded a loss of 25.8% of fisher habitat under this same scenario. Varying dispersal appears to limit habitat availability more than minimum patch size under most scenarios. © 2013.

McCoy R.H.,Makah Tribal Forestry Program | Murphie S.L.,Makah Tribal Forestry Program | Szykman Gunther M.,Humboldt State University | Murphie B.L.,Wildlife Program
Journal of Wildlife Management | Year: 2014

Recent declines in black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) populations in Washington have been attributed partly to low recruitment. However, sparse information exists regarding fawn survival and factors affecting recruitment. During 2006-2009, we captured 228 fawns on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington, USA, to determine sources of fawn mortality, estimate survival rates, identify factors influencing survival rates, assess the influence of hair loss syndrome (HLS) on winter survival, and estimate population growth. We used known fate modeling in Program MARK to estimate survival rates to age 50 weeks and to 9 weeks by developing 2 candidate a priori model sets. We recorded 129 mortalities; predation was the leading cause (74%). Mountain lions (Puma concolor) and bobcats (Lynx rufus) were the most common predators. The survival rate to 50 weeks was 0.33 (95% CI = 0.24-0.43); survival differed between capture years and was age dependent, with fawns being most vulnerable to mortality during the first 9 weeks then again during the winter. The survival rate to 9 weeks was 0.65 (95% CI = 0.60-0.68), and our results suggested that an interaction between age and birth mass influenced survival. A posteriori modeling indicated that greater body mass and earlier birth date also influenced survival over the first 9 weeks of life. Fawns afflicted with HLS had lower survival rates than non-afflicted fawns (P = 0.018) during winter. Poor body condition, based on femur marrow assessment, was a factor in 89% of fawns that died over winter. We estimated the growth of the population to be stationary at λ = 1.0. Estimates of lambda increased 3% when survival was modified to assume HLS was not a factor. We conclude that fawn mortality during the first 9 weeks followed by a significant increase in winter mortality, exacerbated by HLS, combine to limit black-tailed deer population growth. Inherent nutritional limitations in summer forage may have influenced survival of many fawns, pre-disposing them to mortality during the summer and winter. Wildlife managers can use this information to improve population modeling and management of black-tailed deer populations afflicted with HLS. © 2014 The Wildlife Society. © The Wildlife Society, 2014.

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