SCAT-DETECTION DOGS SURVEY LOW DENSITY MOOSE IN NEW YORK

Heidi Kretser, Michale Glennon, Alice Whitelaw, Aimee Hurt, Kristine Pilgrim, Michael Schwartz

Abstract


The difficulty of collecting occurrence and population dynamics data in mammalian populations of low density poses challenges for making informed management decisions. We assessed the use of scat-detection dogs to search for fecal pellets in a low density moose (Alces alces) population in the Adirondack Park in New York State, and the success rate of DNA extraction from moose fecal pellets collected during the surveys. In May 2008, two scat-detection dog teams surveyed 20, 4-km transects and located 138 moose scats. In 2011 we successfully amplified DNA from 39 scats (28%) and were able to uniquely identify 25 individuals. Improved storage protocols and earlier lab analysis would increase the amplification success rate. Scat-detection dogs proved to be a reasonable, non-invasive method to collect useful data from the low density moose population in the Adirondack Park.

Keywords


Recolonization; Abundance; Moose; Scat; Detection Dog; Adirondack Park; DNA; Microsatellite; Pellet

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