Occupancy of Large Canids in Eastern North Carolina - A Pilot Study

We used camera traps to estimate detection and occupancy of radio-collared and non-collared red wolves, coyotes, and red wolf-coyote hybrids (Canis rufus, C. latrans, and C. rufus x C. latrans) in Hyde County, North Carolina. This pilot study was to determine these variables among species and compare them between private and public lands. Large canids occurred throughout the public lands sampled, but occupancy of radio-collared individuals was low (0.41). Estimated occupancy of large canids throughout the study area was 0.74 with an estimated detection of 0.05. Occupancy of non-collared canids was twice that of radio-collared canids, but detection was similar. Results of these pilot efforts suggest that our sample sizes (i.e., number of cameras) were too low. Because of low sample sizes and low detection rates, additional research is needed to fine-tune occupancy rates within and among species and land classifications and thereby provide a landscape-scale perspective on the distribution, and potential implications, of large carnivores in southeast coastal landscapes. Detailed recommendations for continuing research include, among others, increased distribution, density, and duration of camera observation collections.

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