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Capstone Projects

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

Matlacha Pass National Wildlife Refuge Feral Cat Management

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 10:33
Abstract: This management plan focuses on the protection of shorebirds, native ground nesting birds, and terrestrial vertebrates through the removal of feral cats from Matlacha Pass National Wildlife Refuge and Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve in Lee County, Florida. Feral cats directly affect many ground nesting and terrestrial vertebrate species through predation, and have caused the decline of many endemic or rare species. Justification for the eradication of feral cats from MPNWR and MPAP comes from several legal sources and scientific literature indicating predation upon native wildlife. The goal of this management plan is to reduce the effect of feral cats on shorebirds and ground nesting birds in Lee County, Florida. Action will be taken by passing new and improved regulations for cat owners, such as mandatory microchipping and cat-proof fencing. The feral cat population will be reduced through direct and indirect means. Some of these measures include live-trapping, introduction of feline distemper, toxic baits, and sharpshooters. The removal of non-native predators for the protection of native wildlife is a practice commonly used throughout the country. It is often necessary to remove invasive species in order to protect native wildlife in a habitat significantly altered by humans.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Management plan_Nicely.pdf
Authors: Alex Nicely

Management Plan for Baikal Seals (Phoca sibirica) in Lake Baikal, Russia

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 15:41
Abstract: Out of the 30 pinniped species, Baikal seals (Phoca sibirica) are the only exclusively freshwater species; they are endemic to Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia. This lake is the oldest, deepest, and biggest lake in the world. The lake measures nearly 400 miles long and 50 miles wide, with a depth of about one mile, making it difficult for wildlife officers to enforce regulations. This has led to an increase in poaching because locals know that there is little chance of getting caught. The current population is not known; consequently the current hunting quota is not known to be sustainable or not. By-catch from fishing gear and climate change also poses threat to this species. There are five proposed objectives to reach a stable population of Baikal seals. These include: determine a population estimate; create a hunting quota of 5% of the population determined from the population estimate; decrease mortality caused by poaching by 75% in five years; decrease mortality caused by fishing by-catch by 75% in five years; and increase suitable above water habitat by 5% within 5 years. Overall, this management plan is designed to maintain a stable population of Baikal seals.
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Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
Authors: Savannah Waechter

Management Plan to Increase the Eastern wild turkey population along the James River in Eastern, South Dakota.

Sun, 05/04/2014 - 14:26
Abstract: It is estimated that each day in the U.S. we lose about 6,000 acres of wild turkey habitat. This along with other factors is the reason that the current wild turkey population has decreases 15 percent from the total U.S. population estimate in 2004. Eastern wild turkeys are a popular game species and have economic benefits. With proper management, the James River watershed could provide thousands of acres of habitat for Eastern wild turkey and other species. The goal of this management plan is to establish, increase, and maintain an Eastern wild turkey population in the James River watershed of South Dakota to maximize hunting and viewing. To achieve this goal the following actions will be taken: 1. Increasing the current percent of woodland land cover by planting shrubs and trees to increase suitable habitat. 2. Using land easements to establish suitable habitat. 3. Jump starting population by implementing trap and transplant program. 4. Conducting outreach and partnering with organizations to gain support, funding, and man power. Increasing the wild turkey population size will positively affect hunter opportunities and satisfaction, economics, and other species that might utilize newly created habitat.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
File Attachments: Final Management Plan.docx
Authors: Patrick Wightman

Management of the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) in Chemung County

Tue, 05/06/2014 - 08:47
Abstract: Shakespearian enthusiasts introduced the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) to the United States in the early 19th century in Central Park NYC, NY. Currently, starlings have caused major economic damage, ecological displacement of native birds, and spread of invasive plant species. The goal of this management plan is to reduce the European Starling population within Chemung County, NY by means of non-lethal management strategies. Our objectives include assessing the population, marking out hot-spots with areas of high densities of European Starlings, and to provide education and outreach to residents of Chemung County via presentations, pamphlets, and surveys. We will implement non-lethal management in regards to habitat alteration in effort to dissuade European Starlings from nesting and roosting sites, using frightening strategies, as well as covering open food sources such as agricultural feeding stations. Lastly, if the non-lethal management strategies are not successful enough to deter the population of starlings within Chemung County by 50% within three years, we will implement lethal management strategies with biological control actions, and nest-box trapping. Without the management of the European Starling, the issues will continue to persist.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2014
Authors: Madelaine Sullivan

The Conservation and Management of Wolverine (Gulo gulo) Populations in Northern Idaho to Help Prevent Human Caused Extirpation from the Contiguous United States

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 11:21
Abstract: Wolverines (Gulo gulo) were once a thriving species in the North Western United States, but large scale trapping and poison programs in the early 1900s lead to the species near extinction. Since then, populations in the United States have been struggling to maintain a strong presence in Idaho. Its current listing as threatened on the Endangered Species Act prohibits hunting and trapping, but more management is needed to sustain populations. Human development and recreation activities have caused wolverines to disperse from its nature range. Using habitat preservation techniques on current and historical wolverine habitat, increase availability and connectivity will improve dispersal. Close relationship with state officials will provide protection regarding land use, recreation, hunting, trapping and harassment. Public education will teach residents ways they can help prevent wolverine populations from further decline. Extensive research and population monitoring are needed due to the currently declining populations and the low fecundity of the species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology, Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Danielle E. Ball

The Response of Captive Gray Wolves (Canis lupus) to Agonistic Howl Recordings

Thu, 12/05/2013 - 18:58
Abstract: Gray wolves (Canis lupus) are a highly social carnivore that communicates through olfactory and acoustic signals, maintaining their social bonds and hierarchy with body language and touch. Long distance (i.e. howling) and olfactory communication are important in maintaining territory boundaries and mitigating interpack conflict or strife. The study area is a private, not-for-profit wolf conservation and education center in southern New York in the northeast United States. The goal of this study was to determine the overall change in behavior of wolves when faced with a long distance form of communication conveying an aggressive message. I hypothesized that wolves will respond with more activity during and after the howl recordings. An ethogram was adapted from Quandt, but upon personal observation, was altered as additional behaviors were observed. Instantaneous focal sampling was used during data collection at an interval of 15 seconds to sample two gray wolf siblings. The behaviors between wolves were not significantly different from each other (chi square = 0.86, critical value = 14.07, df = 6). This information has many management implications such as determining home range of packs, pack size, and could serve as a possible tool for deterring predation on livestock.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Write-Up.docx
Authors: Erin Brinton

Perception of the Color Blue in North American River Otters, Lontra canadensis

Fri, 12/06/2013 - 11:41
Abstract: Color vision is essential to many animal species, playing major roles in activities such as foraging and mate selection. Most animal phyla have 4 cones that aid in color vision, while mammals typically only have 2. This study aimed to provide evidence of the blue-range color vision in North American river otters, Lontra canadensis, by behavioral testing 4 captive otters. The subjects (2 male and 2 female adults) were tested individually over a period of 42 weeks. Each otter was presented with 3 cards, with choices between 2 white control cards and a blue test card (n = 1213). In later tests, all subjects were presented with 1 white control card, 1 blue test card, and 1 gray card (n = 417). All subjects distinguished the blue test card from the white control cards but only 1 subject differentiated the color blue from a grayscale correspondent (One-proportion z-test, p = 0.011). A bias based on card location was present only in 1 subject in the blue-white phase of testing (One-proportion z-test, p = 0.201) and in 3 subjects in the blue-grey phase of testing. The cause of this bias was unknown. The ability of 1 subject to reliably select the test card (One-proportion z-test, p = 0.011), provided some evidence that L. canadensis perceive the color blue.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Chelsie LaFountain

Poaching: Does The Local Economy Influence Poaching in New Hampshire

Wed, 04/24/2013 - 17:35
Abstract: Because one of the most commonly cited reasons for poaching is to feed one’s family, I investigated whether economic indicators (unemployment, poverty, median household income) affected poaching in New Hampshire on the county level for years 2005-2011. Economic indicator data was collected through the US Census while poaching data was collected from NH Fish and Game. Violations per capita was calculated by dividing the number of violations in each county by the population of the respective county. As the amount of rural area may influence poaching rate, huntable/fishable area in each county (total county area minus residential and transportation area) was calculated as a metric of ruralness. First, in an effort, to determine which economic indicators to use, I sought to determine if the three economic indicators correlated with each other. Because poverty level correlated with household median income, poverty was excluded from the regression analysis. A multiple regression was conducted with unemployment, household median income, and available huntable fishable area as predictors of violations per capita. Due to Coos being an outlier in each of the categories of interest, Coos was excluded from the statistical analysis. Unemployment (coeff = -0.0048752, p = 0.016), household median income (coeff = -0.0000002, p = 0.008), and huntable and fishable area (coeff = 0.0009837, p = 0.029) were significant factors in predicting violations per capita in NH. Although unemployment, household median income, and huntable fishable area can be possible predictors of poaching, other variables may also influence poaching.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Capstone Paper Final.docx
Authors: Joshua Curtis