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Wednesday, January 27 • 11:20am - 11:40am
Capture Efficiency, Survival, and Home Range Characteristics Of River Otters In Southern Illinois

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AUTHORS: Andrew Rutter*, Southern Illinois University CWRL; Dr.Clay Nielsen, Southern Illinois University CWRL; Dr. Eric Schauber, Southern Illinois University CWRL

ABSTRACT: River otter Lontra canadensis populations in Illinois have rebounded considerably due to >80 years of harvest protection. Relatively few studies of river otter ecology exist in the Midwestern U.S. where river otters have increased regionally. The objectives of our study are to estimate capture efficiency, survival, and home ranges of otters in southern Illinois. During winter 2014-15 we captured 26 river otters; 8 in foot-hold traps (1 capture/87.5 trap nights) and 18 in box traps (1 capture/50.8 trap nights). Twenty-two river otters were surgically implanted with intra-abdominal radio-transmitters and individuals were located and monitored for survival using radiotelemetry. Only 1 river otter died during the study period. Home ranges (95% fixed kernel) were calculated for 21 river otters; core areas (50% fixed kernel) were calculated for 17 of those individuals. Mean female and male home ranges were 1,813 ± 632 ha (N=11) and 5,179 ± 1,075 ha (N=10), respectively. Mean female and male core areas were 481 ± 173 ha and 978 ± 254 ha, respectively. Similar to other studies, male home ranges and core areas were 2.85 and 2.03 times larger, respectively, than for females. Our research will provide information for river otter management in Midwestern landscapes.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 11:20am - 11:40am EST
Vandenberg A