John Bruggink (Biology) and graduate student William Severud, along with collaborators from Mississippi State University and the National Park Service, co-authored "Predator cues reduce American beaver use of foraging trails." The paper was published in the fall 2011 issue of the journal Human—Wildlife Interactions. The American beaver is a semi-aquatic herbivore vulnerable to predation on land by wolves. Researchers tested the use of wolf urine as a potential tool to reduce human–beaver conflicts. They used infrared cameras to monitor use of terrestrial foraging trails by beavers during food cache construction in the Seney National Wildlife Refuge in the Upper Peninsula. Two foraging trails at 15 colonies were monitored for one week to establish baseline use. One trail from each colony was then treated with wolf urine and all trails were monitored an additional week to estimate changes in trail use. The mean number of beavers detected decreased 95 percent on urine-treated trails and was unchanged on untreated trails. Beavers also spent 95 percent less time on urine-treated trails as estimated by photograph time stamps, but did not change time spent on untreated trails. Sixteen other taxa of wildlife were detected, but avoidance of urine-treated trails was not observed in them. Findings suggest that wolf urine may be a suitable deterrent for beaver herbivory.
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