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Capstone Projects

The Effectiveness of Scents to Decrease Stereotypic Pacing of Amur Tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) in Captivity

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 16:17
Abstract: Animals in captivity typically exhibit stereotypies, which are repetitive behaviors not normally conducted in the wild. Environmental enrichment is a technique to decrease stereotypies and promote wild behavior by providing stimuli. The goal of this study was to contribute to the understanding of methods for decreasing stereotypic behavior in captive Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica). I hypothesized spices would decrease pacing in 2 Amur tigers at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, New York. One of either ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, pumpkin pie, apple pie or water (a control) were presented on paper bags 4 days a week from the end of May to the end of August of 2012. Pacing significantly decreased for both tigers from before to after placement of the bags with scents and controls (Wilcoxon signed-rank test). While there was a pattern of greater decrease in pacing when bags contained scents versus controls, there was no statistical significance, indicating that other factors may have been responsible for the decrease. Although scent presence and specific scents were not retained in the models, temperature, tiger, and the interaction between temperature and tiger affected the decrease in pacing (ANCOVA). Magnitude of pacing was opposite for each tiger based on temperature. Scents did not cause the decrease in pacing; instead, it could have been caused by normal shifts in behaviors during the day or the disturbance of placing the bag. Environmental enrichment appears to be complex because of the interaction between abiotic conditions, individual tigers, and forms of environmental enrichment.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Sabrina Dalinsky

Management Plan for African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 16:23
Abstract: In the past, poaching negatively affected many African elephant (Loxodonta africana) populations throughout Africa. After the ban on poaching, poaching still remains an issue. Some populations are still struggling to increase, while others have restored themselves. Currently, in some areas, the problem is trying to increase elephant populations and in others the issue is with attempting to stabilize and control an increasing population. In the Luangwa Valley in Zambia, elephant numbers are continuing to grow. Large populations in confined areas cause destruction to their own habitat, which destroys the habitat for many other species in the area. In addition, without more legal hunting, the population will continue to increase and poaching will continue in the areas without additional law enforcement. One of the main issues with the increasing populations of elephants in the Luangwa Valley is an increase in human-elephant conflict as human populations are increasing as well. The goal of this management plan is to control a stabilized population of African elephants in the Luangwa Valley. This will be accomplished by increasing the amount of elephant protected area and corridors through voluntary funds and increased funds from hunters and tourists. We will also decrease the amount of poaching by enforcing laws to a higher extent and increasing the amount of law enforcement staff. In order to stabilize and control the population we will use a mixture of ground and aerial surveys to determine the population size and use these surveys to set hunting quotas in order to take the proper amount of individuals each year and prevent population growth. The main part of this management plan is working with the public. The public will play a large role in implementing this plan and helping to educate others on methods of mitigating human-elephant conflict. Overall, this management plan is designed to help protect African elephants, while protecting the people who live around or within elephant range areas.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: SDalinsky_Final_Plan.docx
Authors: Sabrina Dalinsky

A Sustainable Use Management Plan for the Black caiman (Melanosuchus niger) in Amazonas, Brazil

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 18:52
Abstract: Black caimans (Melanosuchus niger) are the largest crocodilian species in Brazil. During the 1950’s their populations were extensively hunted for their hides. In 1982, they were added to national list of endangered species in Brazil, and in 1995 the species was included on CITES Appendix I. This prevented hunting and trade so the population has steadily increased. This management plan is focused on the implementation of a sustainable use management plan for black caimans in Amazonas, Brazil. The management plan will proceed after research on the populations of caimans in Brazil is done, to determine what the harvest maximum will be, or if a sustainable use plan is not appropriate for this species. Interactions with local communities will establish how locals feel about the species, and incorporating a legal harvest system. Surveys, videos, and fact sheets will be used in order to gain their support and participation. The plan outlines the actions that will lead to the implementation of the sustainable use management plan. This plan will establish black caimans as a natural resource, providing economic benefits to local communities, and in doing so, it will enforce habitat protection as well.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Virginia Brink

Management plan for the Eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus) in Illinois

Fri, 04/26/2013 - 12:16
Abstract: The Eastern massasauga rattlesnake, Sistrurus catenatus, is a small, diurnal rattlesnake with a broad geographic range in North America. S. catenatus was once distributed from the Midwest to the Northeast. They have established populations in Western New York, Western Pennsylvania, Southeastern Ontario, the lower peninsula of Michigan, the northern two thirds of Ohio and Indiana, the northern three quarters of Illinois, the southern half of Wisconsin, extreme southeast Minnesota, and the eastern third of Iowa. Due to fragmentation and human destruction of both individuals and habitat, massasaugas are now considered endangered by most jurisdictions in which it is still found. Massasaugas no longer inhabit approximately 40% of the 203 counties in which held historic populations. As a result, it is included in State Wildlife Action Plans, listed as a Species in Greatest Need of Conservation, in every state across its current range. Nine of the 11 states that once supported massasauga populations have lost more than 50% of their historical populations, and the remaining 2 have lost more than 30% of their occurrences. Furthermore, less than 35% of the remaining populations are considered secure. In fact, only about 22% of the extant populations are thought to have long-term viability. Sistrurus catenatus was listed as a candidate species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in October 1999. Candidate species are species that are in danger of becoming extinct in the near future. In 1994, the massasauga was added to Illinois’ endangered species list. Since then, there has been an increased level of urgency to study the life history, range, and threats faced by the remaining populations. Currently, the massasauga is a candidate for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Although little is known about this species’ life history, a management plan is critical for its recovery and long-term survival. Our goal is to allow the Eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus) to successfully recover and maintain stable, healthy populations in its once heavily populated areas within Clinton, Piatt, Knox, DuPage, Cook, Lake, and Will counties throughout Illinois. In order to achieve this, we will create an adaptive management plan in which we will determine the distribution of massasaugas throughout the state of Illinois; monitor and protect suitable habitat; successfully maintain viable massasauga populations; decrease human-caused mortality by 25% over the first 5 years; develop captive breeding and release programs; and hold public awareness meetings in order to educate the public about the life history characteristics of massasaugas, as well as inform them of our management progress. These objectives will be reevaluated annually, as massasauga populations are vulnerable to even the slightest increase in mortality.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Final Management Plan.docx
Authors: Matthew Alan Van Gampler

Determining Habitat Suitability for Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) in Five Forest Harvest Method Plots on the Paul Smith’s Visitors Interpretation Center Land to Promote Long Term Suitable Habitat.

Sun, 04/28/2013 - 11:42
Abstract: Ruffed grouse (Bonansa umbellus) populations are in a steady decline due to the loss of early successional forests. Our study focused on the suitability of ruffed grouse habitat which is considered an area with adequate food and cover in. We used a habitat suitability index designed for ruffed grouse in Colorado that included average height of woody stems, percent conifers, density of mature yellow birch, and total equivalent stem density as the variables that indicate whether an area has suitable cover and food for ruffed grouse. Using the habitat suitability index we measured the vegetation in five forest harvest methods including: single tree selection, two-age cut, shelter-wood cut, clear-cut, and a control plot to determine if a habitat suitability index developed in Colorado can be used to assess habitat suitability for ruffed grouse in New York. These plots are located in the Adirondacks in Northern New York State at the Paul Smith’s College Visitors Interpretation Center (VIC). Our results suggested that 14 years after harvest a single tree selection harvest method has the highest overall habitat suitability (0.95) for ruffed grouse. This is different from other studies we found that indicated clear-cut was the most suitable forest harvest method for ruffed grouse. We also projected the change in habitat suitability for height of woody stems over time for the clear-cut based on the yearly growth rate of 0.656 feet. Based on our findings from the study we made recommendations to land owners and land managers to develop and promote short term and long term suitable habitat for ruffed grouse. These recommendations included using a variety of forestry practices that included: single tree selection, shelterwood, and clear-cut because ruffed grouse require a variety of different cover types and habitat over their lifetime.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Forestry
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Final_Draft.doc
Authors: Jeremy Anna, Jake Baulch

Management of Fisher (Martes pennanti) in the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.

Sun, 04/28/2013 - 12:05
Abstract: Fishers are medium-sized carnivores that occur in temperate and boreal forests of North America. Historically, fisher ranged from forests in British Colombia to as far south as Tennessee and Illinois. Due to over-trapping, habitat loss, and habitat fragmentation fisher populations in their westward range have decreased unlike their eastern populations. Fishers were listed as endangered in 1998 by the Washington Fish and Game Commission and were extirpated from the state in 2004. Currently there are 90 fishers within the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State due to a reintroduction program. Therefore, proposing to develop a management plan for fishers in the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State that addresses incidental trapping, vehicle mortality, and habitat loss to maintain a viable population of fisher in the Olympic Peninsula. Surveys and public education are emphasized to educate public of the management plan and to receive feedback. Continued monitoring of fisher in the Olympic Peninsula will ensure a viable population of fisher into the future.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Final_Draft.doc
Authors: Jake Baulch

The Recovery and Management Plan for Maned Wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus) in South America with a Focus on Increasing Survival Rates

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 11:21
Abstract: The population of maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus) in South America has been in a steady decline over the past thirty years. This is due to the decrease of the maned wolves’ habitat and their increase mortality rates. Much of the land in central South America has been converted to farm land. This causes the useable habitat for maned wolves to become fragmented and increase the maned wolf/ human conflicts. These conflicts increase the mortality rate of sub-adults as they travel to find their own territories. The sub-adult’s survival rate is estimated to be only 30% between their first and second year. The pups’ survival rate is also very low at 30% in their first year. It may effective to increase the survival rates of the already wild populations in the conservation parks in Brazil. In order to do this, new laws should be implemented to deter farmers from killing maned wolves, and create buffer zones around the wildlife parks. Also, annually checking on pups and administering vaccinations may help protect them from the disease and parasites that plague the species.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Alisha Jean Benack

Eastern Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopava silvestris): Sustaining a viable population throughout New York State, while focusing on the Adirondack Park region of New York State

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 11:25
Abstract: Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopava silvestris) are separated into four different sub categories, Eastern turkey, the Merriam turkey, Osceola turkey and the Rio Grande turkey. The focus is on the eastern turkey throughout New York State focusing on populations within the Adirondack Park. New York State currently has a stable turkey population of 250,000 individuals throughout the state. The Adirondack Park is of main concern due to the more mountainous and various habitats which differ than the southern tier of New York. This focus is on sustainable populations throughout the Adirondack Park, while determining prime predators of the wild turkey by using techniques in identifying predators that most affect the turkey. The main objective is to sustain wild turkey populations throughout the state, while focusing on the Adirondack Park.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Stephen West

The western dispersion of Mountain lions from their current South Dakota habitat

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 11:27
Abstract: The travel vectors of dispersing cougars shall be determined from a base point of the Black Hills in South Dakota. With this information the most likely travel paths will be plotted and the states that may be crossed through and the final endpoint destinations will be determined. Once these are known these states will be informed and polled on their willingness to accept a cougar population. If the population is in favor of a viable cougar population they will be helped to develop a management plan based on an overall plan for all states that are in the travel path of dispersing cougars. If the states populace proves resistant to cohabitation with cougars a different plan will be enacted that help cougar’s find another place of residence to avoid conflict with the populace. A handout will be dispersed throughout every potential cougar vector state which will list and describe a number of body language behaviors exhibited by cougars and an appropriate reaction to take. This should help lessen any violent interactions between cougars and humans. Local wildlife officials and agencies will be brought in to help customize the overall plan for the specific state that they are in this will include adapting it to fit different laws, terrain, climate, etc. Once this plan is in place it will be up to the state agencies to enact it.
Access: No
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: The Author has selected not to publish this complete work.
Authors: Nicholas Weaver

Sustaining and monitoring moose (Alces alces) populations in fourteen counties in New York State

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 11:28
Abstract: Moose (Alces alces) have been present in New York State since the 1980s. They had been absent since the late 1800s, and began steadily reentering the state around 30 years ago. The goal of this management plan is to create a sustainable population of moose in 14 counties, but perhaps more importantly to efficiently and accurately monitor such a population. To do this, there is a crucial need to be able to estimate the amount of moose living in the state. However, an official procedure for doing so has not yet been established. This plan proposes the implementation of annual aerial surveys using stratified random sampling techniques. This plan also calls for the use of radio collars on moose to better monitor individuals, as well as gaining knowledge on habitat preferences of moose. As the population grows there is also an increased risk of vehicle collisions. This plan calls for techniques such as fencing along roads as well as increased moose crossing signs in an effort to reduce vehicle collisions with moose.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Moose management Plan.docx
Authors: Eric Telfer