Survival and Cause-specific Mortality among Furbearers in a Protected Area

Jan F. Kamler, Philip S. Gipson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Information is needed on protected furbearer communities to help understand the ecological impacts of trapping pressure on furbearer populations. We monitored coyotes (Canis latrans), bobcats (Lynx rufus), raccoons (Procyon lotor) and opossums (Didelphis virginiana) from October 1995 to March 2000 in northeastern Kansas to determine survival and cause-specific mortality of a furbearer community protected from trapping. Annual survival did not differ among years or between sexes for all species, but seasonal differences occurred lor coyotes, raccoons and opossums. For coyotes, deaths from humans resulted in decreased survival in winter compared to summer. For raccoons and opossums, deaths from coyote predation resulted in decreased survival in winter compared to summer. Annual survival rates of coyotes (0.71), bobcats (0.77) and raccoons (0.71) were similar to those reported from lightly exploited populations. Annual survival of opossums (0.06) appeared to be extremely low although survival of opossums was not reported in previous studies. The wide-ranging movements of coyotes and bobcats took them off the protected area and made them susceptible to anthropogenic mortalities (80% and 83% of deaths, respectively). In contrast, coyote predation accounted for 40% and 76% of raccoon and opossum deaths, respectively. The high density of coyotes (0.8-0.9 coyotes km 2) on the protected area likely contributed to the high predation rates on raccoons and opossums.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-34
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Midland Naturalist
Volume151
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2004

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