Thesis

Occupancy, habitat use, and seasonal fluctuations of medium to large mammalian predators and Omnivores in Sierra Nevada Foothill oak woodland

Mammalian predators are known to be sensitive to relatively low levels of habitat perturbations, and disturbances to these species are underway due anthropogenic development and climate change in the Sierra Nevada Foothills (SNF) of California. This was the first study to use motion-activated cameras to detect these target species in oak woodland habitat of the central SNF. From February 2014 to February 2015 seven mammalian predators were detected on the Sierra Foothill Conservancy�s McKenzie Preserve at three different elevations: coyote (Canis latrans), gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), bobcat (Lynx rufus), striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), raccoon (Procyon lotor), American badger (Taxidea taxus), and black bear (Ursus americanus). Occupancy models indicated that the bobcat, coyote, gray fox, and raccoon were using the preserve with 100% probability, and were widely distributed throughout the preserve. Habitat use was patchy for the American badger, black bear, and striped skunk. Generalized linear models showed interactions between the gray fox, raccoon, bobcat and coyote to suggest coexistence on the preserve is being maintained through resource partitioning and not temporal or spatial separation. This newly established baseline of mammalian predators is informative for future monitoring, management, and development plans in the SNF.

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