ASSESSING METHODS FOR DETECTING ISLAND SPOTTED SKUNKS ON THE CALIFORNIA CHANNEL ISLANDS
Ellie Bolas; University of California Davis; 1 Shields Ave, Davis, CA, 95616; (919) 357-5901; ebolas@ucdavis.edu; Kevin Crooks, Rahel Sollmann, Paula Power, Christina Boser, Erin Boydston, Victoria Bakker, Adam Dillon, Dirk Van Vuren
Island spotted skunks (Spilogale gracilis amphiala) are an endemic subspecies on two of the California Channel Islands, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa. Island spotted skunks are a species of special concern in California, however, little is known about their status. Based on trapping on both islands, captures of skunks have decreased dramatically in recent years, suggesting the potential for extinction. We added a second monitoring method, wildlife cameras, to test whether both cameras and traps had low numbers of skunk detections, and to determine temporal variation in detections. In July - December 2017, we deployed 30 wildlife cameras at trap sites on each island, concurrent with trapping efforts. We found that on both islands, cameras and traps used during the summer had equivalent low numbers of skunk detections. However, detections of skunks on cameras in the fall and early winter more than doubled as compared to the summer. These results suggest that island spotted skunks may be rare on both islands. However, monitoring efforts in the fall may improve efforts to census of island spotted skunks.
The Anthropocene: Decline & Extinction I   Student Paper