Survival and Cause-specific Mortality of Raccoons on a Northern Bobwhite Management Area

We estimated survival and cause-specific mortality of 59 raccoons (Procyon lotor) on a wildlife area in Mississippi which was in the early stages of an intensive land management program to enhance northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) habitat quality and populations. Average annual survival of radio-collared raccoons was 0.81 for males (N=47) and 0.79 for females (N=12) from March 1997 to February 1999. We detected no effect of sex, season, year, or age (P≥0.05) on survival. Causes of mortality (N=14) included vehicle collision (N=5), unknown (N=4), harvest (N=2), predation (N= 1), parasites (N= 1), and weather-related (N= 1). Potential factors controlling raccoon populations on these areas may only include harvests and periodic epizootic outbreaks. The effects of habitat management used to enhance bobwhite populations on raccoons and other nest predators, including varying spatial-temporal distributions of edge and disturbance, are not well known. Although based on preliminary data, observed survival rates of raccoons warrant the examination of harvest and long-term mortality patterns of raccoons on areas managed for bobwhite.

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