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Capstone Projects

Management on a Protected Landscape: Black-Throated Blue Warblers (Setophaga caerulescens) in the Adirondack Park, NY 2019 - 2069

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 11:28
Abstract: Black-throated blue warblers (Setophaga caerulescens) are a neotropical migrant passerine that specializes in breeding within interior forest habitats, with dense lower strata. Since the Breeding Bird Survey began in 1966, there has been over a 1.5% decline in sightings of this species along survey routes. In recent years, it has been found that access to secondary growth during the post-fledging period is essential to physiological health for migration. In the Adirondack Park of New York, a protected forest, there is a severe deficit of early successional habitats, especially adjacent to large tracts of mature forest. Compounding on this, there is resounding public conflict in relation to forest operations. This management plan aims to increase black-throated blue warbler encounters on BBS survey routes by at least 1% yearly on average, or by 50% over 50 years. To increase populations directly, new early successional habitat, and understory nesting cover will be developed using a variety of forestry techniques. We will increase early successional habitat by 10% by 2034, 20% by 2049, and 30% by 2069. Understory cover is planned to be increased by 5% by 2034, 15% by 2049, and 20% by 2069. Public education will be increased by presenting residents and visitors to the Adirondacks with free opportunities to learn about how natural resources are managed. Public opinion will be monitored alongside this education to study how public approval of forestry relates to environmental education. By the end of this 50-year management cycle, it is expected that black-throated blue warblers, along with several other species, will benefit greatly from these management actions. In addition, the general public will have a greater understanding, and therefore support of scientific wildlife management, including all tools that are used.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
Authors: Bradley R. Geroux

Management plan for brown hyena (Hyaena brunnea) populations in South Africa

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 12:25
Abstract: Brown hyena, Hyaena brunnea, is a species that is found throughout the southern portion of Africa, including South Africa. The population of brown hyenas in South Africa has continuously been decreasing and is currently around 1,000 individuals. This drop in the population size has caused the brown hyena to be considered vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list. The main conservation issues the amount of funding going towards hyena’s conservation is low. Also, the ecosystems that the brown hyena prefer live in have been turned into farmlands throughout South Africa. Another concern is the poaching of the species illegally, mainly to try and protect the farmers’ livestock. The goal of this management plan is to increase and maintain a sustainable population of brown hyenas in South Africa. The objectives of the management plan are to decrease the number of negative interactions with brown hyenas, implement educational programs, increase tourism that focuses on hyenas, increase the population of prey species, and to increase the amount of protected land throughout South Africa. To decrease the negative interactions between the brown hyena and humans, hyena-proofed fencing will be distributed to all farmers to protect their livestock. Implementing educational programs will include the residents of South Africa, rather than just the students, so that everyone gets an understanding of the importance of brown hyenas. An increase in ecotourism will be accomplished by creating tours that just focus on the hyenas in the area and increasing the number of prey species will start with captive breeding of selective species. The increase in protected land will start to create more land that there are more protections for the brown hyena, so they are hunted or poached. If these actions are implemented there will be an increase in the population and they will be able to reach a sustainable number, but if nothing is done, then the population will continuously decrease until it reaches extinction.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
Authors: David Gilleo

Restoring a top predator in Indonesia and Malaysia, the Sunda Clouded Leopard (Neofelis diardi)

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 13:58
Abstract: The Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) is a semi-arboreal species of feline that is found in Indonesia and Malaysia. Sunda clouded leopard populations are in decline because of increasing deforestation. This specie’s diet consists of bearded pig (Sus barbatus), sumbar deer (Rusa unicolor), mouse deer (Tragulus spp.), porcupine (Hystrix sumatrae), and muntjacs (Muntiacus spp.) among others. Deforestation is having a large effect on the habitat available for the Sunda clouded leopard. Along with the habitat decline, there have been declines in the numbers of prey species due to poaching, creating a low food abundance for this species. These both are creating major conservation concerns for the Sunda clouded leopard in Sumatra, Indonesia and Borneo, Malaysia. The goal of this management plan will be to increase the population of the Sunda clouded leopard to a sustainable level and decrease habitat loss by 10% across Indonesia and Malaysia. For success, three objectives are needed, including: 1) publish 3 peer reviewed papers for the Sunda clouded leopard over the next 20 years, 2) increase the population size by 10% over the next 35 years, and 3) increase the suitable dipterocarp habitat by 10% over the next 25 years. Actions will include conducting scientific studies to gain knowledge of the Sunda clouded leopard. There will also be law enforcement and regulations added for the habitat along with many species that are found in this region. There will be an expected increase in the population of Sunda clouded leopard in order to reach a sustainable level in Sumatra, Indonesia and Borneo, Malaysia.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
File Attachments: Final management plan.pdf
Authors: Robert Kahlstrom

Conserving the Whistling Canid: Management Plan for the Dhole (Cuon alpinus) Population in Jigme Dorji National Park, Bhutan (2019-2049)

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 18:27
Abstract: The dhole (Cuon alpinus) is a highly social canid that inhabits southeast Asia. This crepuscular species typically forms large packs, of up to 30 individuals, and is led by the breeding alpha pair. Dholes are habitat generalists, but primarily select habitats that support their hypercarnivory diet requirements. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists dholes as endangered based on the ongoing conservation concerns that are causing their populations to decline. The dholes’ prey base is decreasing due to land conversion, historic overhunting by humans, and interspecific competition with other larger predators. Dholes are also subjected to persecution by livestock farmers through retaliatory killings, which arise from depredating on cattle. Additionally, dholes are susceptible to the fatal diseases that are transmitted by feral and domestic dogs. Currently, there is no action being taken in any southeast Asian country to conserve the dhole. The goal of this management plan is to increase the dhole population in Jigme Dorji National Park to make Bhutan a model country for dhole conservation. This plan will focus efforts towards increasing pup survivorship by 30% over 30 years through identifying and monitoring dens sites, protecting potential denning sites, and mitigating the spread of diseases, such as rabies. Increasing prey availability by 10% in 20 years will also be addressed, by evaluating prey densities and encouraging alternative grazing practices to reduce pressure in ungulate habitat. Finally, an increase in human acceptance of dholes by 70% in the next ten years will be addressed through the distribution of surveys to the subdistricts within the park. Ultimately, the establishment of this management plan will create Bhutan as a model for dhole conservation by taking action to increase the population size of this endangered canid.
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Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
File Attachments: Dickerson_FINAL_dholes.pdf
Authors: Julie Dickerson

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.
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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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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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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.
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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.
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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