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1 January 2008 Survival and Cause-specific Mortality of a Protected Population of River Otters In Minnesota
THOMAS A. GORMAN, BROCK R. McMILLAN, JOHN D. ERB, CHRISTOPHER S. DEPERNO, DANIEL J. MARTIN
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Abstract

Determining causes of mortality and estimating survival rates can provide insight into the status of species for which population trends are not well understood. From Apr. 2002–May 2004 we radio-marked and monitored 39 (13 adult males; 6 subadult males; 8 adult females; 12 subadult females) river otters (Lontra canadensis) in the upper Mississippi River watershed to document causes of mortality, and to evaluate the effects of season, age and sex on survival of river otters in southeastern Minnesota. Further, we assessed the relative importance of demographic parameters to population growth using a projection matrix, which incorporated reproductive data with our observed survival estimates. Human induced mortalities, including accidental captures by fur-harvesters targeting other species (n = 6) and vehicle collisions (n = 1), accounted for the majority of deaths while natural mortality was low (n = 1). Annual survival of females was 0.680 (SE = 0.099) and was 0.946 (SE = 0.052) for adult males. Elasticity of adult female survival was 3.1 times higher than subadult survival, 2.7 times higher than juvenile survival and 2.7 times higher than the sum of elasticity for subadult and adult female reproduction. River otters and other furbearers need to be monitored to assess population status, and management should be responsive to ensure persistence of populations experiencing intentional and/or accidental harvest.

THOMAS A. GORMAN, BROCK R. McMILLAN, JOHN D. ERB, CHRISTOPHER S. DEPERNO, and DANIEL J. MARTIN "Survival and Cause-specific Mortality of a Protected Population of River Otters In Minnesota," The American Midland Naturalist 159(1), 98-109, (1 January 2008). https://doi.org/10.1674/0003-0031(2008)159[98:SACMOA]2.0.CO;2
Received: 29 January 2007; Accepted: 1 May 2007; Published: 1 January 2008
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