BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY OF RIPARIAN BRUSH RABBITS AT THE SAN JOAQUIN RIVER NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE.
Celia M. Tarcha; CSU Stanislaus Endangered Species Recovery Program; 1 University Circle, Turlock, CA, 95382; (408) 668-5653; ctarcha@csustan.edu; Patrick A. Kelly
The riparian brush rabbit (Sylvilagus bachmani riparius; RBR) is a state- and federally-listed species found in just a few areas of the northern San Joaquin Valley of central California. It requires the dense brush associated with riparian areas for food and for protection from predators. Loss of habitat to agriculture and urban development restricted its range to two locations in San Joaquin County requiring its reintroduction beginning in 2002 to the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). This project studied the behavioral ecology of RBR on San Joaquin River NWR from February to August 2017 using camera traps. The primary objectives of the research were to study the activity patterns and behavior of RBR as well as their usage of different resources on the NWR, specifically, plant communities restored in the early 2000s and artificial feed sites deployed to sustain levee-stranded RBR during major flooding in spring 2017. Initial results showed an increase in interactions between RBR and other species at artificial feed sites. Although a variety of behaviors were recorded during the study, vigilance and foraging behaviors were the most prominent across sites. Paper is a work in progress.
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