Endangered black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) are difficult to monitor because of their nocturnal and fossorial habits, but land use and management are influenced by their potential presence. Detector dogs have been suggested as a method for determining ferret presence, although its efficacy has not been thoroughly investigated. We evaluated 2 dogs trained specifically for determining ferret presence in field evaluations conducted in black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies at the Conata Basin reintroduction site in South Dakota, USA, during September and October 2003. We tested the dogs on 4 test colonies that had no record of ferret presence and 7 colonies known to have ferrets inhabiting them. One dog was 100% accurate at detecting presence and the other was between 57% and 71% successful at detecting ferrets, with neither dog falsely indicating presence when ferrets were absent. For the 2 dogs, the mean time to detect ferrets on a prairie dog colony was 21 minutes and mean search rate was 26 ha/hour. The mean time to detection on the same sites was 208 minutes for spotlight surveys and mean search rate was 1.6 ha/hour. Although spotlight surveys are necessary for identifying population demographics, well-trained detection dogs show promise for detecting ferret presence in prairie dog colonies.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 34 • No. 5