Aspects of Key Largo woodrat ecology

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Title: Aspects of Key Largo woodrat ecology
Author: McCleery, Robert Alan
Abstract: Development on the island of Key Largo , Florida , has isolated the Key Largo woodrat (KLWR , Neotoma floridana smalli ) on approximately 850 ha of remaining habitat . The KLWR was listed as a federally endangered species in 1984 , yet there is still only a limited amount of knowledge about its ecology and population dynamics . The objective of this study was to produce reliable information on KLWR ecology to aid in its management and recovery . Specifically , the study examined (1 ) the trend and status of the KLWR population , (2 ) KLWR habitat and nesting preferences , (3 ) the potential of a fatal disease on KLWR , (4 ) the movements and ranges of the KLWR , and (5 ) the viability of the KLWR population . I trapped on 60 (1 -ha ) grids from March to September 2002 and 10 (1 -ha ) grids in October 2002 and January , April , and July 2003 . Additionally I radio -collared 17 KLWRs and tracked them from March to November 2002 . I estimated the current population of KLWR to be between 26 and 106 individuals . I found KLWR selected young hammock (disturbed > 1971 ) over medium (disturbed between 1940 -1971 ) and old hammock (disturbed < 1940 ) . KLWRs selected garbage and rock piles in the young hammock for nesting sites . From the analysis of 64 raccoon (Procyon lotor ) fecal samples , I have no evidence that the potentially fatal raccoon roundworm parasite (Baylisascaris procyonis ) was present on Key Largo or had negative impact on the KLWR . Telemetry data indicated males have larger ranges than females . Females appear socially tolerant of one another and have significantly smaller ranges than males during the spring and summer breeding season . Results of a population viability analysis (PVA ) using demographic parameters from previous studies and my study projected a high risk of extinction for the KLWR within the next 10 years . I recommend the creation of large continuous blocks of young (disturbed > 1971 ) habitat and the creation of nesting habitat for the KLWR within these areas . I would also advocate a large -scale captive breeding and augmentation of the population along with continued research on the limiting factors that are driving the KLWR toward extinction .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /24
Date: 2004-09-30


Aspects of Key Largo woodrat ecology. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /24 .

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