Master's Theses

Date of Award

Spring 2008

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Advisor

Elmer Finck

Abstract

The eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius) historically was reported as abundant or common throughout much of the central United States; however, range wide population declines over the past four decades have prompted state agencies and researchers to evaluate the status of the species and develop conservation strategies. My research focused on the conservation issues that pertain to the status and distribution of the eastern spotted skunk in Kansas. From May 2004 through March 2007, I conducted field surveys for the eastern spotted skunk in several areas of Kansas by using live traps and tack plate stations. In November 2005, I captured two males of the eastern spotted skunk on my study site in Cherokee County in Southeastern Kansas. In February 2007, I recorded one track of the eastern spotted skunk at a track plate station on the same study site. My trapping success for the eastern spotted skunk in Cherokee County in November 2005 was 1.4%, and, in February 2007, my detection success was 1.0%. I did no confirm the presence of the eastern spotted skunk on any of my other study sties. I surveyed Kansas fur harvesters in the fall of 2005 and spring of 2007, and employees of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks in the fall of 2006 to request information about eastern spotted skunk observations. I received 417 new reports of eastern spotted skunk observations that were made between 1930 and 2007. I used maximum entropy (Maxent) modeling to predict the potential distribution of the western spotted skunk in Kansas. My model predicted suitable environmental conditions for the eastern spotted skunk in southeastern and south-central Kansas, and moderately suitable environmental conditions in most counties within the state. Additional field work will be necessary to verify the distribution and status of the eastern spotted skunk in Kansas.

Rights

Copyright 2008 Shannan K. Nilz

Comments

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