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Capstone Projects

Management plan of Fennec fox (Vulpes zerda) populations in Algeria, Africa

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 20:22
Abstract: The Fennec fox (Vulpes zerda) is the smallest species in the Canidae family. Found throughout North Africa, the Fennec fox lives throughout the sandy regions of the Sahara Desert only in areas with sand dunes. The Fennec fox is a symbolic species of Algeria, though there is lack of knowledge regarding this species in the wild. The Fennec fox is commonly found and sold through the exotic pet trade. This species has been viewed as a pet rather than a conservation tool in the wild. The need for conservation for this species arose as a result of the Sahara Desert becoming more arid and desertification taking place. Lack of information is affecting the Fennec fox causing a threat to future populations. Managing to increase knowledge of their ecological role in the wild ensures future stable populations. The Fennec fox is shown to currently have a population that is increasing, how to keep the Fennec fox’s population in a sustainable population size is an important management goal for this species. The goal of the management plan is to ensure the future viability of the Fennec fox in Algeria. Several techniques will be used to support this goal such as using camera traps, Geographic Information System technology, pit fall traps, mark recapture methods, and using global position system radio collars. Many of these techniques used will help grasp a better understanding of the Fennec fox in the wild. The outcome of the management plan will result in the viability of the Fennec fox for future generations, and create a better understanding of the role it illustrates in the wild.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
File Attachments: Final Final capstone.pdf
Authors: Ridge Koebbeman

Conserving Breeding and Wintering Grasslands: Protocol for Sprague’s Pipit (Anthus spragueii) Population Management

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 20:36
Abstract: The Sprague’s Pipit is a small North American passerine specializing in grassland ecosystems in both its breeding and wintering ranges. Historically, Sprague’s Pipit was among the most numerous grassland birds present on ranges across the United States. Now face a 75% decline in population. The main conservation issues impacting the Sprague’s Pipit is habitat availability and suitability. Fragmented habitat caused by anthropogenic suppression of natural disturbances such as fire and changes in grazing regimes, urbanization and continual conversion of pristine grassland to crop land greatly reduces potential habitat. The goal of this management plan is to increase the population of Sprague’s Pipit to create a stable community over ten years. This will be achieved by increasing adult survivorship by 20% and habitat availability and suitability over 10 years. Actions required to achieve are communicate and educate farmers on the importance of fallow fields as bird habitat. Land easements will increase wintering area availability and removing woody structures will increase habitat suitability. By increasing available grassland habitat in Montana, there will be an increase in available breeding habitat. This will be achieved with land easements and incentives to farmers to avoid grassland conversion. Seeding areas with cold and warm season grasses will transition unsuitable habitat to suitable grassland habitat. Habitat suitability will increase with moderate to low grazing practices paired with burning every 2-5 years. Mechanical removal will reduce woody structures and invasive plants. Hay fields are not preferred habitat but will be used for nesting. Thus to increase fledgling rate, mowing will be regulated on an area-dependent basis. After ten years, population of Sprague’s Pipit are expected to stabilize with an increase in available and suitable habitat. This plan will be templet for future states to implement conservation of such a novel species.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
File Attachments: Master plan.pdf
Authors: Rocco Cavalluzzi

Managing declining Giant Armadillo (Priodontes maximus) populations in the Atlantic Forest, Brazil

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 20:38
Abstract: Giant armadillos (Priodontes maximus) are largely known for their massive body size and burrowing behavior that provides habitat for other species and promotes the cycling of nutrients in the soil. Individuals spend most of the day inside the burrow, with the majority of foraging occurring at night feeding on ants and termites. Giant armadillo’s geographic range extends throughout South America, occurring in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Educator, Peru, and Venezuela. Ecological concerns threatening giant armadillo populations include habitat degradation and fragmentation, lack of protected habitat, and limited knowledge of species ecology. Sociocultural and economic threats originate from the illegal harvesting of individuals for subsistence and black-market trade coupled with increasing human development. While the harvest of individuals is illegal, inadequate law enforcement presence and regulations continue to limit necessary protection. These threats have been extensively documented throughout South America, especially in Brazil. This management plan focuses on the management of individuals in the Atlantic Forest, Brazil. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species currently lists the giant armadillo as vulnerable based on the anticipated population decline leading to extinction in the next thirty years. The goal of this management plan is to increase and stabilize giant armadillo populations in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil to promote a self-sustaining population from 2019-2049. Achieving the goal will require that several objectives are met within a specific timeline. The production of peer reviewed scientific articles outlining the ecology of the giant armadillo will be achieved through the completion of several scientific studies using surveys and camera traps. Areas containing suitable habitat across the geographic range will become protected with cooperation from private land owners. The locations of individual populations will be determined using camera traps and surveying areas pre-determined as suitable habitat. Adult survivorship will rise 10% with increased law enforcement, distribution of signs highlighting regulations, and the use of captive breeding. Public awareness of habitat protection and population management will increase through implementation of a pre/post management survey, semi-annual seminars, and notification of actions taken advertised throughout the community. Proper management will help develop a self-sustaining giant armadillo population across the Atlantic Forest, while also providing management actions that can be adapted to other locations throughout South America to ensure the longevity of this species.
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Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
Authors: Robert Haseltine

Management Plan to Restore Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens fulgens, Cuvier 1825), a Flagship Species in Nepal

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 21:54
Abstract: Red pandas (Ailurus fulgens fulgens Cuvier 1825) are a flagship species in Nepal identified by their white face marked by red patches coursing from the lateral angle of the eyes to the corner of the mouth and are the only extant species of their family. They primarily eat bamboo (Bashania faberi, Fargesia robusta) leaves, as well as fruits of Sorbus species when available. Their populations are declining globally, and The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species has them listed as endangered. Their population in Nepal is declining primarily as result of anthropogenic habitat degradation, fragmentation and destruction. Their low populations in recent years has accelerated their long-term decline due to the limited genetic pool remaining in the population. The goal of this management plan is to increase populations of red pandas to a sustainable level in the wild in Nepal. This will be accomplished through the captive breeding and reintroduction of red pandas into their historic range. To ensure both the extant and introduced red pandas survive long into the future, actions to both reduce the rate of current habitat degradation, fragmentation, and destruction, as well as reversing these damages with a combination of in vitro micropropagation and transplantation of bamboos and in situ bamboo nurseries. These actions will increase the heterozygosity of the genetic pool of red pandas in Nepal and ensure that they have a sufficient amount and quality of habitat to survive and thrive. These actions will utilize local labor, and help combat local poverty, reducing the incentive for persons to consumptively interact with red panda habitat, and encourage them to act to protect it instead. This will ultimately result in sustainable populations of red panda being present in Nepal and them avoiding becoming extirpated as a result.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
File Attachments: Schwed_Management_Plan.docx
Authors: Ethan Schwed

Management Plan for Stray Dog (Canis lupus familiaris) Populations in Kathmandu, Nepal

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 00:10
Abstract: Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are the most abundant predators, inhabiting all continents excluding Antarctica. Widely distributed, they are able to adapt to an expansive range of surroundings, maximizing survivability rates throughout the populations. Dogs are able to habituate regardless of rural mountainous terrain or crowded bustling cities. Stray dog populations have been established as a result of the frequent abandonment of pet dogs due to sickness, aggression, estrus behavior, or negligence. The diet of stray dog populations in Poland have been documented consisting of 30% oats, seeds and fruits, 15% small mammals, 12% game species, 7% insects, and 36% organic or inorganic items. The presence of dogs can deter endemic wildlife from utilizing suitable habitats, causing an increase in nest desertions. Dogs have also been known to hybridize with species within the Canis genera such as with the endangered Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis), disrupting the genetic integrity of the species. Breeding multiple times within a year, producing anywhere from 1 to 15 pups per litter, there has been an estimate of over 20,000 stray dogs in Kathmandu, Nepal. Exposure to harsh living conditions have resulted in many of these dogs becoming malnourished, increasing susceptibility to parasites and diseases. Decreasing the population of stray dogs in Kathmandu by 50% from 2019 to 2049 will decrease ecological impacts on native wildlife, as well as decrease the transmission of zoonotic diseases. Decreasing food availability for stray dogs will result in a decrease within the stray dog population; if executed gradually, the stray dog population will not disperse to neighboring communities. When food sources suddenly diminish, dogs have been observed dispersing to maximize food availability. Decreasing the fecundity of females ages 1 to 2 will halt the dog population from its current exponential increase. Further educating the public regarding impacts of stray dog populations will decrease opportunities for disease transmission, pet abandonment, as well as discourage the public from sustaining the population. Decreasing the population of stray dogs in Nepal will protect native wildlife by decreasing negative effects on breeding success as well as increasing habitat use by endemic species. Human exposure to zoonotic diseases can also be minimized as a result of decreased interactions with stray dogs.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
Authors: Iris Li

Reviving Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris) Populations Post Fur-Trade in the Aleutian Archipelago of Alaska

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 09:40
Abstract: Northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are a very important predator to the Aleutian Archipelago of Alaska. They are a keystone species that helps maintain a balanced relationship between sea urchins and kelp. Sea otters were nearly extinct in the early 20th century, but most populations have since recovered. However, otters of the Aleutian Islands are facing large declines due to increased killer whale (Orcinus orca) predation. Due to small, extant populations that are isolated from one another, it is difficult for otters to disperse from their birthplace, thus creating genetic bottle necking. This management plan’s goal is to stabilize sea otter populations, at islands that were not operating at equilibrium in 1965, to approximately 300 total individuals by 2026. Population models show adult survivability is the most influential on the population. The objective measures that will be taken to achieve this goal would be to (1) Stop the hunting of sea otters from 2019-2026, (2) decrease killer whale predation by 50% by 2026, and (3) increase the number of adults by at least 30% in areas that provide protection from killer whales by 2026. This plan expects a positive outcome with the goal being achieved within the given time frame, ± 1 year.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
Authors: Donovan Hughes

Conservation of the Critically Endangered Silky Sifaka (Propithecus candidus) in Marojejy National Park, Madagascar.

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 11:05
Abstract: Executive Summary The silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus) is a critically endangered, large bodied lemur endemic to the eastern montane rainforests of Madagascar. Silky sifakas eat primarily leaves but will also eat seeds, flowers, and fruits, which means they are not true folivores. Silky sifakas reproduce, on average, once every other year and will mate on a single day each year. Like other eastern rainforest sifakas, silky sifakas will not cross non-forested habitat (i.e. clear cuts or farm land) to travel between forest fragments. Thus, deforestation is a primary concern for the species’ survival of the species. Additionally, the local villagers hunt lemurs for bush meat. Locals do not specifically target silky sifakas but make no effort to avoid the species while hunting. The goal of this management plan is to increase and maintain the silky sifaka population within Marojejy National Park, in north eastern Madagascar. There are four main objectives to reach and fulfill this goal. First, conduct additional research on silky sifaka population size and natural history, and produce 5 peer reviewed papers to increase what is known about the species. Second, to increase survival rates of each age class to 90% in 20 years. Third, increase education on the importance and uniqueness of the forests and species that live within them, inside Marojejy National Park by 50% in 3 years. And finally, to reduce the illegal harvest of fuel and rosewood within Marojejy National Park, as well as the surrounding forests, by 90% in 3 years. These objectives will be achieved through different actions including education, increased management and monitoring of the park, and implementation of new data collection methods. The completion of each objective and the effective implementation of each action should result in the silky sifaka population stabilizing and increasing in numbers each year.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
File Attachments: Tolman_FWS470_Final.pdf
Authors: Matthew W. Tolman

Understanding the Scaly Anteater: A Management Plan for the Sunda pangolin in Southeast Asia (2019-2069)

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 16:14
Abstract: The Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) is one of four pangolin species found in Asia. Known as the scaly anteater, it is native throughout southeast Asia and is considered to be the most illegally trafficked mammal in the world. The Sunda pangolin can be found in primary and mature secondary forests, and feeds mainly on ants and termites. Major ecological conservation issues for the Sunda pangolin include loss of habitat through deforestation for the palm oil industry in southeast Asia. Conservation issues involving economic and sociocultural aspects are that many Asian cultures believe that pangolin scales possess medicinal properties, and the pangolin is also a delicacy in many Asian cultures causing them to be heavily poached. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species has the Sunda pangolin listed as critically endangered because of the lack of information available on this species. The goal of this management plan is to create a better understanding of the biology and ecology of Sunda pangolins and gather information on the status of the population of Sunda pangolins in southeast Asia from 2019-2059. Objectives of this goal include: gain an understanding of Sunda pangolin ecology, biology and behavior in southeast Asia in fifteen years, publishing five peer reviewed scientific papers, assess 75% of Sunda pangolin population throughout southeast Asia in ten years, create awareness in local communities and collaborate with relevant agencies to commit to the conservation of Sunda Pangolins in twenty-five years. With proper management of the Sunda pangolin valuable knowledge of this species will be gained and steps can be made to save the population in southeast Asia.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
File Attachments: JAllen_Final_Plan.pdf
Authors: Johannah Allen

Management Plan to Double the Oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus) Population in South America

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 08:02
Abstract: The oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus) is the smallest of eight neotropical cat species of South America. They have thick, short, light brown-grey fur that has spotted rosettes. The back of their ears also contains a white spot in the middle of the black fur. The average weight of the felid is 2.4 kg. Their main distribution is located in the northern part of South America. They tend to favor dense forests that have high cover. The oncilla diet consists of small mammals, birds, and reptiles. Some examples of the types of prey they consume include unidentifiable rodents (Cricetidae), the yellow pygmy rice rat (Oligoryzomys flavescens), grass mice (Akodon sp.), the rat-headed rice rat (Sooretamys angouya), and unidentified birds. They also depredate on poultry livestock in nearby villages. The oncilla has an average litter size of 1.5 kittens that become full grown by 11 months of age. They do not become reproductively mature until they reach an age of two. The IUCN Red List considers the oncilla to be a vulnerable species. The number of mature individuals is between 8,900-10,210. There is a projected decline in population by 36.8% over the next three generations. This management plan is focused on doubling the population of mature oncillas within the next 20 years in South America. The biggest ecological factor that is affecting populations is deforestation of their habitat. Oncillas are also hunted due to depredation on village livestock as well as for their skins and traditional medicinal purposes. First objective is to conduct a minimum of two studies improve understanding about the natural history aspects of the oncilla throughout the 20 years. Second, establish a minimum of three protected areas for the oncillas in the first ten years. Third, increase public knowledge of the oncilla by 50% throughout the 20 years. Finally, reduce the mortality of the oncilla by 75% in the first two years.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
File Attachments: OncillaManagementPlan.pdf
Authors: Sarah Vivlamore

The Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus): Securing the future of the butcher bird in Arkansas

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 11:14
Abstract: The Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) is the only one of the 30 species of true shrikes in the world endemic to North America. Loggerhead Shrikes (hereafter, shrikes) are raptorial grassland passerines, that use open fields with short vegetation including pastures with fence rows, mowed roadsides, and agricultural fields for hunting grounds. Breeding adults have frequently been found to nest in red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) and hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) trees, however when trees or shrubs are not available, shrikes will also nest in brush piles or hardwood debris. According to Breeding Bird Survey data shrike populations have been declining across most of their range since 1966 and are listed as near threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List as of October 2017. The conservation issues believed to be affecting shrikes include habitat loss, high winter mortality, and pesticides used in agricultural practices. Increased population growth in northwestern Arkansas, and changes in agricultural practices in the south of the state, have reduced the open grassland or pastureland habitat that shrikes depend upon. Agricultural practice changes have also led to a decrease in available cover, resulting in higher predation levels especially during winter. The impact of pesticides is currently unknown however nearly 20 studies, including the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2000 Status Assessment, have listed pesticide use as a primary reason for the observed population decline. The goal of this management plan is to maintain a population size of 400,000 shrikes in Arkansas. The objectives to achieve this goal include executing an education and awareness campaign including surveys, brochures, and working with farmers to educate them on Conservation Reserve Programs, improving habitat across the state to support the 400,000-population size through farmer land agreements, and improving juvenile and adult shrike survival rates by 19 and 30%, respectively, through managing potential causes of mortality to prevent further decline and stabilize the population at 400,000 individuals. Through proper management of habitat, cover and foraging habitat availability will improve which will reduce mortality and improve survivorship rates. If this management plan is enacted, shrike populations are expected to recover, and stabilize in Arkansas.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
File Attachments: Final Capstone.pdf
Authors: Connor W. Gale