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Capstone Projects

Hector's Dolphins, Cephaloryhnchus hectori hectori: A Management Plan to Increase Populations via Increased Protective Legislature

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 22:31
Abstract: Hector's dolphins (Cephalorhynchus hectori) are the only cetacean endemic to New Zealand. The South Island subspecies (C. hectori hectori) has an estimated population size of 7,270 individuals and has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN red list since 2000. The largest threat to Hector's dolphins is gillnet mortalities – it's estimated that 63% of mortalities are caused by fisheries bycatch. The life history of the dolphins indicates that they cannot reproduce quickly enough to replace the individuals lost to bycatch. Current rates of gillnet mortality must be decreased by at least 75% for Hector's dolphins to recover. This plan is designed increase populations of Hector's dolphins by decreasing gillnet mortalities to a sustainable level through legislation. Paramount to this goal are increasing the size and number of protected areas and increasing gillnet restrictions across the range of Hector's dolphins. The offshore distribution of Hector's dolphins depends on the bathymetry of the area, and thus management areas should be evaluated individually to best protect local populations.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
Authors: Chelsie LaFountain

Management Plan to Increase and Protect the Population of Bearded Vultures (Gypaetus barbatus) in the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 22:35
Abstract: Lammergeiers (Gypaetus barbatus) are a long-lived vulture species native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. They were highly persecuted in the 1800s and early 1900s to the point of near extinction. The only population in South Africa is comprised of roughly 500 individuals in the Drakensberg Mountains. Trophy hunting and secondary poisoning using baits imperils this population. They are also being driven further into the mountains because of human population and commercial expansion around the mountains, a growing destination for tourists. Lammergeiers are most vulnerable as chicks. My management goal is to protect and increase the population of lammergeiers living within the Drakensberg Mountains. By rescuing second hatched chicks from the nests and hand raising them before being released as juveniles we will ensure a higher chance of survival for them during their most sensitive life stages. This action coupled with the removal of poisoned baits in their habitat and stricter regulations preventing more bait placement will increase recruitment rates and adult survival. If successful, this plan would show an increase in population density within 5 years of its institution.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Management_FINAL.docx
Authors: Leslie Fortier

Management of residential and migratory Canada goose (Branta canadensis) populations on airports in the Northeastern United States

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 22:47
Abstract: Canada geese (Branta canadensis) are a familiar sight throughout North America, with over one million inhabiting the Northeastern United States alone. The habitat requirements for this species align with human fondness for landscaped lawns, leading to human-goose conflicts. Nowhere are these conflicts more life threatening than in airports, where bird strikes on airplanes are dangerous and costly. The most hazardous bird species to airports are Canada geese, due to their large body size, tendency to fly in tight flocks, and utilization of airports as habitat. Between 1990 and 2012, 1,400 collisions occurred between these geese and planes in North America, causing $116,295,969 worth of damage and multiple human deaths. This management plan describes the most effective methods of preventing Canada geese from utilizing airport property as habitat. Habitat modifications including elimination of water bodies and planting of unpalatable grass species discourage geese from landing to roost or feed. If they do land, a detailed hazing regime is recommended to remove them from the property quickly and safely. All recommended actions are evaluated for ethical and practical viability. With the increasing amount of shared airspace between Canada geese and humans, it is an unacceptable risk to allow geese on airports.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Bjacques_MGMTplan.docx
Authors: Benjamin K. Jacques

Management of Endemic Hawaiian Honeycreepers (Drepanidinae)

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 00:37
Abstract: The islands of Hawaii have been heavily impacted by human use through the clearing of lowland forests, the introduction of mammalian predators and nonnative bird species, ungulates, and avian pox and avian malaria, all causing severe declines in avian species. Due to their isolated evolutionary history honeycreepers (Drepanidinae) had never been exposed to these threats. When introductions took place honeycreepers were hit very hard. Currently of the 31 historically known honeycreeper species 12 are presumed extinct, 15 are federally endangered and only 4 are not listed. My goal is to increase populations of honeycreepers and support sustainable populations into the future. I propose protection of current honeycreeper habitat and reforestation efforts where applicable, and a reduction in feral hog, goat, sheep, rat, mongoose and cat populations, and a reduction in mosquito vectors. To accomplish this I propose an integrative approach to mosquito control utilizing point source reduction and the use of biopesticides, the use of rodenticides to control rat and mongoose populations, trapping programs to reduce feral cats, and the culling of feral ungulates. If action is not taken, honeycreeper extinctions will continue to take place, and one of the greatest examples of life’s ability to diversify will be lost.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Final submission.docx
Authors: John Neddermeyer

A Management Plan for the Przewalski’s Horse (Equus ferus przewalskii)

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 12:10
Abstract: The Przewalski’s horse is endemic to the grassland regions of Mongolia. These horses were once extinct in the wild, and have since been brought back to their native lands through extensive reintroduction efforts. However, there are very few individuals in the wild today, and the individuals that do occur have very low genetic diversity. This management plan will be in place to continue these reintroduction efforts and to ensure that the Przewalski’s horse population will become self-sustaining. The goals of this management plan are to increase the overall genetic diversity of the wild Mongolian Przewalski’s horse population and to increase population numbers until it is self-sustaining. These goals will be achieved through captive breeding programs of non-related individuals, and then slowly releasing these new individuals into already established wild populations. The native peoples of Mongolia will be surveyed and informed using pamphlets and verbal communication, of these conservation efforts to avoid and conflict and confrontations. Further education outreach will also take place in zoological societies, to inform the public of this species. This management project will continue until a self-sustaining population is maintained, and until genetic diversity, and levels of non-relatedness between individuals are frequent.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
Authors: Jenna Correia

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) Management Plan for the State of Utah

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 12:10
Abstract: In the state of Utah the burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) is listed as a species of special concern. Populations have been declining at a steady rate due to lack of habitat and other influences such as urban development and chemical use. Burrowing owls nest in ground dwelling mammal’s burrows. With mammal populations declining it has shown effects on the burrowing owl populations. The goal of this management plan is to enhance and maintain the burrowing owl population by enhancing breeding habitat where the habitat has been degraded. The use of artificial burrows and preservation of natural burrows will be strategies to increase survivability during breeding seasons. Burrowing owls are used as an indicator species of degrading ecosystems and are of value to farmers as they feed on small rodents and other organisms that are considered pests. Management action should be taken to recover their steadily declining population.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: PlanRoughDraft.docx
Authors: Brandee Keuer

Florida’s Burmese Python (Python molurus bivittatus) Management Plan

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 15:19
Abstract: A population of Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) has been established within Florida, and is currently thriving unlike the declining populations within its native range. These pythons are a large species of snake (up to 5.5m and greater in length) native to Southeast Asia. Within their current range in Florida, declines of up to 99.3% have been seen in native species, such as raccoons (Procyon lotor), since their introduction. Current action being taken to control these pythons is ineffective, and the population continues to grow and expand. Therefore, action must be taken in order to reduce, and/or contain, the distribution, and/or number of, Burmese pythons in Florida to within the borders of the Everglades National Park (ENP) and Big Cypress Swamp (BCS). In order to accomplish this goal, research to determine effective extermination that causes little or no adverse effects (≤ 5% decrease in population) on native species will be completed. Following the research, the effective strategy(ies) will be implemented along with continued current means of control until such time that the goal is met. Failure to act will result in the continued growth and expansion of Burmese pythons, and lack of recovery for declining native species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
Authors: Casey Gagne

Management of Eastern Hellbenders in the Allegheny Watershed of New York State

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 17:28
Abstract: The eastern hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis) is a large aquatic salamander unique to North America. Research on C. alleganiensis shows a decline in population size throughout much of its range. Hellbender populations in the Allegheny Watershed of New York State have been estimated to include only 400 individuals. The Allegheny River has been altered over the past century by dam construction, stream relocation, and agricultural and urban developments, negatively impacting both the water quality and benthic environment of the watershed. These changes have two major impacts on the species: siltation and pesticide and nutrient runoff, which harm hellbenders directly and reduce cover, food availability, and nest sites. This plan seeks to address these problems through the development of riparian buffer zones. Buffer zones filter nutrients and chemicals from runoff and ground water, and act as a physical barrier against silt. This action is considered the most desirable as it will not only benefit hellbenders, but the ecosystem and community at large by improving water quality, wildlife habitat, and the aesthetic value of the watershed.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Hellbender management plan
Authors: Daniel Alempijevic

Managing Fisher (Martes pennanti) in Region 7 of Central New York: Opening a trapping season

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 20:40
Abstract: In the late 1800’s fisher were very abundant throughout New York State, but they were nearly trapped to extinction by the 1930s. Few populations survived until 1949 when the trapping season was closed. Today fisher can be found throughout approximately 26,000 square miles of forested habitat in the state; many of these areas have established management plans. Region 7 has not established a population estimate of fisher in the past because there have been few sightings until recently. In 2013, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and Cornell documented fishers at 54 of 100 survey locations in Region 7. The goal of this management plan is to maintain a fisher population that is large enough to sustain itself and support annual trapping seasons in Region 7. To support the goal of opening a trapping season, fisher habitat will be improved by limiting fragmentation and increasing connectivity. Fisher harvests will be limited by issuing harvest tags, and monitored by pelt seal records. Opening a trapping season will improve recreational opportunities for trappers, while assisting in maintaining a healthy predator prey ratio.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Carter O'Gorman

Maintaining The Current Population Size Of Pygmy Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus) On Isla Escudo de Veraguas, Panama

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 21:13
Abstract: The pygmy three-toed sloth, Bradypus pygmaeus, is only found on Isla Escudo de Veraguas, a small island off the coast of Panama. This species is currently listed as a critically endangered species with a population thought to be less than 100 individuals. If no action is taken this species may eventually become extinct as a result of deforestation and poaching by native peoples. To help conserve the biodiversity of Panama a goal and list of objectives has been formed. The goal of this project is to maintain the current population size of pygmy sloths on Isla Escudo de Veraguas. This goal is hoped to be accomplished through reforestation of red mangrove trees, Rhizophora mangle, and by increasing the enforcement of local laws. Local laws currently prohibit harvesting pygmy sloths and the deforestation of the red mangrove trees but they are rarely enforced. The best way to preserve this species is to try to preserve the species habitat. Since the pygmy sloth eats only red mangrove tree leaves it is necessary to preserve its habitat in order to preserve the species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
Authors: Vincent Meyer