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Capstone Projects

Management Plan for Nutria (Myocastor coypus) in Louisiana Marshlands

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 11:25
Abstract: Nutria have been in Louisiana from the late 1800’s and has been destroying the Louisiana marshes since their release in the 1930’s. Nutria are large rodents that feed extensively on marsh grasses and roots. The nutria harvest 25% of their body weight (5.5Kg) each day, however they only consume 10% of the food they harvest. The goal of this management plan is to eradicate the nutria from the Louisiana ecosystem through hunting and trapping with economic incentives. There are two reasons that eradication is the answer to the nutria infestation. The first reason for their eradication is they are an invasive species that has replaced the native muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus). The second reason for their eradication is that they have incredibly high rates of reproduction with relatively low rates of predation. If the nutria is left to exist on its own, the population would soon get out of control and completely destroy Louisiana’s ecosystems. Nutria need to be eradicated in order to save the remaining marshlands and prevent erosion in the Louisiana marshland.
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: Stephen Jennings

Mountain Lion Reintroduction Management Plan for New Hampshire

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 11:27
Abstract: Due to the extinction of the eastern cougar (Puma concolor), Mountain lions have been officially absent from the northeast since 2011. This management plan is designed to reintroduce a breeding population of Mountain lions to New Hampshire. With this introduction, this plan hopes to return Mountain lions to the Northeast and eventually have a sustainable population to hunt. The goals of this management plan can be achieved through stocking Mountain lions from States that already have sustainable populations. Once the new population of Mountain lions has been caught, they will be released into the landscape throughout specially selected suitable habitats in the northern part of New Hampshire. This management plans hinges on gaining strong public support through education, acquisition of surplus Mountain lions, and establishing policies and procedures designed to protect experimental populations.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Final management plan.docx
Authors: Kelly Starkweather

Management Plan for the Common Loon (Gavia immer) in the Adirondack Park in New York State

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 11:30
Abstract: Common loons (Gavia immer) have been a symbol of the remote northern lakes and wilderness. Because of their eerie calls, striking plumage, fierce territoriality, and a habitat selection that coincides with people, the common loon has accumulated a significant amount of national attention. Although overall populations are thriving there are many threats throughout the loon’s life cycle. As a result, managers and concerned citizens have created laws, regulations, and have tried to educate the public about common loons. The primary goal of this management plan is to continue to maintain the stability of the common loon population in the Adirondack Park in New York State. The goals of this management plan can be achieved by protecting and conserving loon habitat and educating the public about limiting the amount of human disturbances.
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: Ann Jardin

Plan for the Eradication of Feral Pigs (Sus scrofa), from the State of Vermont

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 12:20
Abstract: There is currently a population of feral pigs (Sus scrofa) in Southeastern Vermont. Due to their reproductive strategy, and demographics, this relatively small population can grow rapidly. Their reproductive strategy of large litter sizes, early maturation, and number of litters possible in a year combined with their survival rates. This allows their population to grow almost exponentially if left unmanaged. Feral pigs present many problems to the ecosystem as well as anthropogenic related issues. These problems with the ecosystem, economics, and property are partly due to how and what they eat. The behavior of feral pigs combined with their ability to eat almost everything, from crops and natural vegetation, to livestock, and wildlife causes many problems. Among them, rooting and wallowing causes extensive property and agricultural damage. Feral pigs are also known to carry diseases which they may transmit to humans, livestock, pets, and wildlife. All of these factors demonstrate a need to eradicate feral pigs from the state, as they cannot be successfully managed. This can be accomplished through population monitoring, lethal population control, and monitoring of potential reinvasion areas.
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: John Chestna

Current summarization and future recommendations: A universal management plan for American beaver (Castor canadensis) across the northeastern U.S.

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 15:18
Abstract: The northeastern United States has the most diverse trapping regulations of the entire country. Driven by political and socio-cultural views on trapping, laws have been passed in recent years that are not based on the best available science. A summary has been completed of the current regulations throughout the northeast with management implications for the future. The intent of this management plan is to create steps to improve laws so they are based solely on the current ecological problems of the species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Tyson Morrill

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