Date of Award

2022

Degree Name

Biological Sciences

College

College of Science

Type of Degree

M.S.

Document Type

Thesis

First Advisor

Dr. Jayme Waldron, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Shane Welch

Third Advisor

Mr. Kevin Oxenrider

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Anne Axel

Abstract

In wildlife management, translocation is defined as the purposeful movement of an individual(s) from one place to another with a wildlife management goal. Translocation has become a common tool for mitigating negative human-wildlife interactions. We conducted a translocation study on timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) in response to numerous human-rattlesnake encounters with the goal of developing a translocation protocol that would allow natural resources personnel to mitigate negative encounters between the public and rattlesnakes and reduce impacts to local timber rattlesnake populations. In this study, we scaled translocation distance to site-specific home range characteristics to assess whether translocation outcomes benefit from using biologically relevant distances based on insight into local population movement patterns. We randomly assigned individuals to one of two treatment groups: intrahome range translocation (0.5 km) and extra-home range translocation (2.0 km). We did not detect an effect of translocation treatment on home-range size. We found a significant effect of the interaction between treatment group and time since release on daily distance moved. We used-known fate models to examine survival probability, and survival was negatively associated with extra-home range translocation and SVL. We suggest translocation can be an effective means of mitigating negative human-rattlesnake interactions, but site- and species-specific home-range size and movement patterns should be taken into consideration when determining translocation distances.

Subject(s)

Animal introduction – West Virginia – Coopers Rock State Forest.

Timber rattlesnake – West Virginia – Coopers Rock State Forest.

Kanawha State Forest (W. Va.).

Available for download on Thursday, October 03, 2024

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