Winter habitat associations of eastern spotted skunks in Virginia

Journal of Wildlife Management
By: , and 

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Abstract

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.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Winter habitat associations of eastern spotted skunks in Virginia
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
DOI 10.1002/jwmg.21282
Volume 81
Issue 6
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description 9 p.
First page 1042
Last page 1050
Country United States
State Virginia
County Augusta County, Bath County, Botetourt County, Craig County, Giles County, Grayson County, Highland County, Rockbridge County, Rockingham County, Wythe County