Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date

2021

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Natural Resource Management

First Advisor

Robert C. Lonsinger

Keywords

bobcat, Canis latrans, coyote, Lynx rufus, occupancy modeling, space use

Abstract

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) populations experienced declines in the Midwest during the 20th century due to land conversion for agriculture and over exploitation and were practically nonexistent in areas by the 1970-80s. Populations have been recovering following changes in land-use practices and habitat improvement. Eastern South Dakota was closed to bobcat harvest in 1977 but reopened in 2012 to select counties. Bobcats are elusive, have large home ranges, and occur at low densities, making monitoring their populations difficult. Camera trapping is an effective tool for monitoring elusive carnivores but can be burdened by low detection rates. Researchers often employ attractants to increase detection, but attractants can unequally influence detection of species among different trophic levels. We ran a pilot season in 2019 to evaluate the efficacy of an olfactory lure, a non-consumable attractant, as a means of increasing detection of bobcats. We expanded our species of interest to include additional species (coyote [Canis latrans], raccoon [Procyon lotor], and eastern cottontail [Sylvilagus floridanus]) that represented a range of foraging guilds. We evaluated the influence of the lure at three temporal scales (i.e., daily probability of detection, sequences per detection, and triggers per sequence). The influence of the lure varied between the two most carnivorous species, bobcat and coyote. The lure positively influenced detection of coyote and raccoon, an intermediate omnivore, and negatively influenced detection of bobcat and eastern cottontail, an herbivorous prey. Bobcats are of management interest in South Dakota that are potentially vulnerable to land conversion and may be influenced by coyotes. We used occupancy modeling to evaluate the influences of landscape features on space use of bobcats and coyotes and generated activity curves to quantify temporal overlap between species using remote camera data collected in the summers of 2019 and 2020. Coyote space use was positively associated with slope, small-scale percent agriculture, and edge density. Bobcat space use was limited and positively associated with coyote activity, distance to roads, and large-scale percent woodland/shrubland. Our results indicate that bobcats are using smaller, less-disturbed woodland/shrubland patches, which are associated with higher coyote activity levels. Bobcat and coyote temporal activity had high overlap.

Number of Pages

87

Publisher

South Dakota State University

Rights

In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-NC/1.0/

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