Eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius) populations have declined throughout much of their range in the eastern United States over recent decades. Declines have been attributed to habitat loss or change, increased competition with sympatric mesocarnivore species, or disease. To better understand the extant distribution of spotted skunks in the Appalachian Mountains of western Virginia, USA, we used a detection-non-detection sampling approach using baited camera traps to evaluate the influence of landscape-level environmental covariates on spotted skunk detection probability and site occupancy. We conducted camera trap surveys at 91 sites from January to May in 2014 and 2015. Spotted skunk occupancy was associated with young-aged forest stands at lower elevations and more mature forest stands at higher elevations. Both land cover types in this region can be characterized as having complex forest structure, providing cover that varies with stand age, species composition, elevation, and management regime. Our results provide insight into factors that influence spotted skunk spatial distribution and habitat selection, information that can be used to generate conservation assessments and inform management decisions.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Winter habitat associations of eastern spotted skunks in Virginia|
|Series title||Journal of Wildlife Management|
|Contributing office(s)||Coop Res Unit Leetown|
|County||Augusta County, Bath County, Botetourt County, Craig County, Giles County, Grayson County, Highland County, Rockbridge County, Rockingham County, Wythe County|