North America Program: Species & Habitat Enhancement
Mule Deer: California
|Watch a video about the responses of mule deer to the provision of water in the Mojave National Preserve|
Objective: Water is a natural limiting factor to most desert wildlife. This is true in the East Mojave National Preserve where cattle ranching operations once pumped water to support livestock in the ambient desert conditions. Several wildlife species benefited from these man-made persistent water sources. When the cattle ranches closed down, the water wells and guzzlers were abandoned. In 2008, a study on mule deer survival, recruitment, productivity, movements, and use of water sources began to learn more about the importance of the wells and guzzlers to this species.
Support: The SCI Foundation was concerned with the subsequent reduction of available water from the landscape and the impact on wildlife. Working in cooperation with scientists at Mojave National Preserve, the California Department of Fish and Game, and researchers at the University of Nevada-Reno, SCI Foundation has supported this research, including sponsoring several helicopter capture efforts to fit or replace GPS collars.
Methods & Research: Information about the experiment's design and research methods can be read on the U.S. National Park Service website: http://www.nps.gov/moja/naturescience/muledeer.htm.
Cougar: South Dakota
Objective: The cougar population in the Black Hills of South Dakota is unique in that it naturally reestablished residency in the area after being extirpated in previous years. This population is also semi-isolated from other surviving cougar populations. In his dissertation at South Dakota State University, Daniel Thompson wanted to: “1) Document cougar survival by sex and age class and characterize mortality of an unhunted cougar population; 2) document dispersal movements; 3) assess the genetic structure; 4) document morphological attributes; 5) assess population status and density dependence.”
Support: Safari Club International, along with the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks, provided funding for this study.
Methods & Research: Different methods were used for each portion of the six-part study. Please refer to the PDF document of the study by Daniel Thompson, South Dakota State University.
Black Bear: Missouri
Objective & Support: A two-year project has been initiated to study the population dynamics of black bears in Missouri. SCI Foundation is assisting the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) to estimate the population of black bears, their movement patterns, habitat preferences, and genetic relatedness.
Methods & Research: The first phase of the study, which is a joint effort among the MDC, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and Mississippi State University, included the trapping and radio-collaring of 13 bears in southwest and south-central Missouri. You can read more at the Mississippi State University, our partner, website.