TEMPORAL AND SPATIAL DENSITY ESTIMATES OF PYGMY RABBIT POPULATIONS ACROSS THE GREAT BASIN.
Miranda M. Crowell; University of Nevada, Reno; 10640 N McCarran Blvd Apt F-342, Reno, NV, 89503; (425) 223-9932; mirandamaurine@gmail.com; Marjorie D. Matocq, Kevin T. Shoemaker
Sagebrush habitats are considered one of the most imperiled ecosystems in North America, raising severe concerns about the conservation for many of the 350+ wildlife species that depend on these habitats. In 2005 and 2010, pygmy rabbits (Brachylagus idahoensis), a sagebrush specialist, were denied listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) due to a lack of information about how their populations are changing across their continuous range. To investigate how pygmy rabbit populations are changing across the Great Basin, we used a Spatially-Explicit Capture-Recapture (SECR) approach to estimate pygmy rabbit densities temporally (5 sites monitored annually from 2016-2018) and spatially (14 sites monitored for at least one year). Estimated densities at our study sites (n = 14) ranged from 15 to < 1 pygmy rabbits per Ha, and decreased substantially throughout our study period (2016-2018) at 4 out of 5 sites. We will soon begin investigating abiotic and vegetation characteristics that may be contributing to changes in estimated pygmy rabbit densities both temporally and spatially.
Ecology and Conservation of Mammals IV   Student Paper