We seek to understand the distribution and abundance of mammals. Several monitoring projects are underway.
Ground Squirrels- Surveyors record Columbian Ground Squirrel observations during the spring bird point counts. We hope their numbers increase and that they expand into areas that they do not currently occupy.
Elk- Elk numbers fluctuate through the year with herds of several hundred animals moving onto the ranch in the fall and winter. Fewer elk stay around to raise their calves in the spring and summer. We track herd size, the habitat they use for feeding, and the amount of biomass available to them for forage. We are curious about how elk habits will change in response to changes in vegetation communities as restoration activities proceed. To see Teagan Hayes’ reports on elk monitoring and updates for more information (Click here).
Bears- The lower elevation draws and drainages at MPG were de-vegetated by herbicide applications and sheep and cattle browsing. As of the summer 2012, we have planted more than 30,000 trees and shrubs in these drainages. The plantings will provide cover for animals using the draw bottoms as travel corridors between the upland forests and the floodplain forests. Many of the shrubs we have planted, such as hawthorns, choke cherries, and serviceberry, will provide food for bears. Our bear monitoring efforts seek to document how many bears we have now and where they travel. Alan Ramsey, of MPG, is working with researchers from Sinopah Wildlife Research to census the bear population using DNA analysis of hair samples gathered from places bear mark their territories by rubbing on trees and from non-invasive traps that pull hair of the bears when they are attracted to a scent lure. To see the most recent update on this project please (Click here).
Mule Deer- We think that Mule deer abundance is closely tied to a shrub, bitterbrush, that is a mainstay of the mule deer diet. Experiments, lead by Nathan Gordon, seek to determine the factors that control Bitterbrush recruitment and distribution. To see the latest update on Nathan’s work (Click here).
Click here for a link to a list of mammals we have seen and photos.
Click here for links to our best mammal footage.
We would like to do more small mammal research. Please contact us with ideas for collaboration. (Click here to contact us.)