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Capstone Projects

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

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

Eastern Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) Management in Upstate New York

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 11:21
Abstract: The eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris), was completely absent from the state of New York for nearly 100 years. With suitable habitat regenerating, the turkeys have migrated back into the state and along with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation trap and transfer efforts, the turkeys have made a full recovery. Although turkeys are now found in all suitable habitats of the state, there population is still at risk. Poult survival is a strong determining factor in the existence of the population. With poult mortality approaching 75% in bad years, every effort needs to be made in order to ensure the poults that survive, reach maturity. Management practices of public operations as well as farmers need to be adjusted to delay mowing of roadside ditches and hay fields until July to protect hens and their nests. By creating suitable nesting habitat, that keeps the eggs and poults safe from the elements and predators, as well as educating the public and landowners about the importance of nesting habitat, poults will have a higher chance of reaching maturity.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
Authors: Brad Marshall

New York State Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) Management Plan

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 11:24
Abstract: In New York State, Ruffed grouse have been an important bird for many hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. This species’ population has been slowly declining due to the loss of habitat. Ruffed grouse prefer early successional forests with high stem density. This allows them to hide in the cover and shelters them from predators. These early successional forests provide mid staged trees increasing the brood habitat and increasing the survival of young. The goals of this management plan are to increase the total area of early successional forests in New York State and to increase the estimated Ruffed grouse population size. The goals will be achieved by logging and clear cutting allowing young trees and shrubs to begin growth and by monitoring populations to see population trends. Increasing these habitats will improve nesting and brood habitat which may lead to a population increase. Logged areas are preferred areas for male Ruffed grouse to drum, allowing them to possibly attract more mates. The management sites will be monitored to see if tree species incorporated with early successional forests need to be added. Public and private land will be managed to ensure habitat is added not only on public forests to allow possible dispersal and immigration of populations. To ensure future Ruffed grouse populations action needs to be done now or the decrease of their natural habitat will continue to expand.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Year: 2013
File Attachments: Ruffed grouse management
Authors: Kyle Keys

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

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