Human population growth is a major threat to the biodiversity of mammals in China. Rapid development of infrastructure, pollution, and poor enforcement of environmental laws in China have altered the landscape and accelerated the extinction rates of mammals. To maintain biodiversity and conserve the mammals of China, it is essential to develop monitoring protocols for species of concern that are efficient, cost-effective, and current. It is now common practice for ecologists to survey mammals of interest using noninvasive sampling methods. These sampling techniques are affordable, require no handling of the target animals, and generally yield large samples. In China, such sampling methods have rarely been used and evaluated. For this study, we recorded the behavior of masked palm civets (Paguma larvata) and Siberian weasels (Mustela sibirica) to determine their relative preference for using different hair-snaring devices and evaluated the effectiveness of each device at collecting hair. Our goal was to determine which genetic sampling method(s) should be used to study masked palm civets and Siberian weasels in the future in Southwest China. In March–June of 2014, we monitored 13 hair-snare stations throughout the Main Valley of Laohegou Nature Reserve, Sichuan Province, China. Genetic analysis revealed that we collected 373 hair samples from civets and 47 hair samples from weasels over 104 and 26 sessions, respectively. Both civets and weasels seemed to prefer lure sticks to ground cubbies; however, the latter were more effective at collecting civet hair. Although glue sheets from lure sticks collected large samples of guard hair (> 10), no device in its current design was consistently effective at collecting weasel hair. We suggest researchers in Southwest China use ground cubbies as described in this study to collect hair from masked palm civets and test other cubby designs (e.g., longer gun brushes or smaller in size) for collecting hair from Siberian weasels.
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Vol. 97 • No. 2