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1 February 2017 Managing Native Predators: Evidence from a Partial Removal of Raccoons (Procyon lotor) on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, USA
Jessica J. Stocking, Theodore R. Simons, Arielle W. Parsons, Allan F. O'Connell
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Abstract

Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are important predators of ground-nesting species in coastal systems. They have been identified as a primary cause of nest failure for the American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) throughout its range. Concerns over the long-term effects of raccoon predation and increased nest success following a hurricane inspired a mark-resight study of the raccoon population on a barrier island off North Carolina, USA. Approximately half of the raccoons were experimentally removed in 2008. Nests (n = 700) were monitored on two adjacent barrier islands during 2004–2013. Daily nest survival estimates were highest for 2004 (0.974 ± 0.005) and lowest for 2007 and 2008 (0.925 ± 0.009 and 0.925 ± 0.010, respectively). The only model in our candidate set that received any support included island and time of season, along with a diminishing effect of the hurricane and a constant, 5-year effect of the raccoon removal. For both hurricane and raccoon removal, however, the support for island-specific effects was weak (β = -0.204 ± 0.116 and 0.146 ± 0.349, respectively). We conclude that either the raccoon reduction was inadequate, or factors other than predation cause more variation in nest success than previously recognized. A multi-faceted approach to management aimed at reducing nest losses to storm overwash, predation, and human disturbance is likely to yield the largest population level benefits.

Jessica J. Stocking, Theodore R. Simons, Arielle W. Parsons, and Allan F. O'Connell "Managing Native Predators: Evidence from a Partial Removal of Raccoons (Procyon lotor) on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, USA," Waterbirds 40(sp1), 10-18, (1 February 2017). https://doi.org/10.1675/063.040.sp103
Received: 7 June 2016; Accepted: 3 November 2016; Published: 1 February 2017
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