Appalachian Carnivore Survey

The Appalachian Carnivore Survey (ACS) is an ambitious project to survey the carnivore community within the Appalachian region of Ohio on private land. Private land makes up the vast majority of land in this region but remains largely un-surveyed, leaving a large gap in our knowledge concerning the distribution and abundance of carnivores in this ecoregion of Ohio. Trail cameras represent an excellent tool with which to detect carnivore occupancy on private land across southeastern and eastern Ohio.

 

The goals of the study are to:

  • Document the distribution and relative abundance of individual carnivore species,

  • Determine carnivore community dynamics, including community composition and structure (i.e., co-occurrence and avoidance of carnivore species and the roles these factors play in shaping carnivore communities across the landscape), and

  • Determine the effects of habitat and patch dynamics on carnivore communities.  Although the project is not designed for the detection of specific species, we are particularly interested in the distribution and relative abundance of imperiled species, such as the gray fox,  as well as potentially altered community structure in areas with relatively dense bobcat populations, a recovering species in Ohio.

 

Trail cameras will be placed in a clustered design, with 1 cameras per 10 acres. The private land surveyed will be the center of a 250-acre grid cell and surrounding land use will be considered when analyzing the results. Possible factors that may disqualify a private land owner from the study include: 1) potential study area less than 20 acres surrounded by wildland, or 2) study area less than 125 acres where the majority of the surrounding land is urban and/or suburban. 

After we intensively survey the land with trail cameras, we will provide a written report, including information on the area surveyed, all species photographed by camera site, and any recommendations for habitat management, to the land owner. Participants will be given a CD with all of the pictures of animals that we obtain.

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