David S. Maehr

The Taxonomic Status of Wild Canis in Kentucky

We assessed taxonomic status of wild canids in Kentucky using 13 cranial measurements on 143 known canid skulls in a multivariate statistical procedure to classify 56 unknown canid skulls from Kentucky. Discriminant function analyses revealed complete separation of canid taxa between coyotes and dogs, although coyote-dog hybrids had significant overlap with coyotes. Hybridization between coyotes and dogs in Kentucky occurred in less than 10% of unidentified canids. Our findings suggest that wild canids in Kentucky are best classified as coyotes, Canis latrans.

Initiating Elk Restoration:The Kentucky Case Study

The return of elk to eastern Kentucky in 1997 followed an absence of more than 150 years. This restoration was made possible by combining the financial, human resource, and land assets of several public and private organizations, as well as landscape changes that appear to have created suitable elk habitat. The impetus for the return of elk was based in part on the anticipation that the new herd would be accessible to the public for hunting and viewing. Pre- and post-release outreach included assessing public opinion which was mostly supportive of elk restoration and interacting with...

Mortality Patterns of Panthers in Southwest Florida

Mortality of Florida panthers (Felis concolor coryi) was examined from December 1979 through May 1991 in southwest Florida. Average annual mortality (17.2%) over a 4-year period (1987-1990) was similar to unhunted populations of mountain lions. Highway collisions caused 46.9% of documented mortality followed by natural causes (28.1%), illegal shooting (6.2%), and research activities (6.2%). Road mortality appears greater from November to January and more likely among male panthers and panthers residing adjacent to State Roads 29 and 84. Natural mortality, especially intraspecific...

Day Beds, Natal Dens, and Activity of Florida Panthers

Day rest sites and natal dens of Florida panthers (Felis concolor coryi) studied from January 1986 to August 1989 were dominated by dense vegetation, especially saw palmetto (Serenoa repens). Activity peaked around sunrise and sunset for both denning females and solitary panthers; however, solitary panthers exhibited greater extremes in activity and inactivity. Females were most likely to be at the den during daylight and spent about 50% of the denning period at the den. Day beds and den sites are important habitat features and should be considerations in panther management.

Bird Abundance and Distribution in a North Florida Phosphate Mine

Seasonal bird use in 5 habitat types associated with phosphate mining was examined in Hamilton County, Florida, in 1979 and 1980. Bird densities were highest in late successional settling ponds and lowest in reclaimed habitats. Early successional settling ponds contained the greatest number of species. Conversion of unreclaimed mines or late successional settling ponds to reclaimed habitats resulted in decreases in all abundance and diversity estimates. Creating wetlands in settling ponds and establishing littoral, shoreline, and upland vegetation in reclaimed habitats would encourage use...

Fall Food Habits of Black Bears in Baker and Columbia Counties, Florida

Stomachs from 36 hunter-harvested black bears were collected over a 5-year period from October through January in Baker and Columbia Counties, Florida. Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) was the most important item in the diet. Other important foods included black gum (Nyssa biflora), gallberry (Ilex glabra), yellow jackets (Vespula spp.), and armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus). The practice of winter burning may have artificially increased the importance of saw palmetto to bears in the study area.