After logging in with the login link in the top right, click here to upload your Capstone

Capstone Projects

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.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
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.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
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.
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.
Access: Yes
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.
Access: Yes
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

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

Conservation Management Plan to Increase Population Numbers of the rusty-spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) in India and Sri Lanka

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 12:15
Abstract: Rusty-spotted cats (Prionailurus rubiginosus) are one of the smallest cats in the world. They are distributed in select parts of India and Sri Lanka. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List considers rusty-spotted cats to be near threatened. They can be found in moist, deciduous forests, especially during the dry season. Their diet consists of mostly small mammals, but they have been known to prey upon birds and amphibians as well. Rusty-spotted cats have a voracious appetite and fast metabolism that has resulted in them being called the hummingbirds of the felid family. Ecological concerns involving rusty-spotted cats include anthropogenic factors like deforestation and roadways passing through their habitat. Sociocultural and economic factors affecting populations of rusty-spotted cats include poaching due to livestock kills and hunting for bushmeat. This management plan focuses on rusty-spotted cat populations in areas that are anthropogenically impacted. The goal of this management plan is to gain a better understanding of the status of rusty-spotted cat populations and natural history, as well as to increase population numbers of rusty-spotted cats in India and Sri Lanka by increasing survival rates in rusty-spotted cats over the age of 1 year. The objectives of this goal are to increase annual survival rates of rusty-spotted cats by 10% by 2039 and reduce rusty-spotted cat habitat degradation by 30% by 2029. Populations of rusty-spotted cats thrive in pristine habitats that have no human impacts. To properly manage for this species, areas need to be protected in order to ensure that the rusty-spotted cat will continue to have suitable forest habitat to live and reproduce in.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2019
File Attachments: Final Plan PDF.pdf
Authors: Ben Coolidge