Graduation Date

Spring 2019

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Natural Resources, option Wildlife

Committee Chair Name

Tim Bean

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Daniel Barton

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Barbara Clucas

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Wildlife Management


Though habitat suitability and occupancy are often correlated, they cannot always be inferred from each other. Therefore, a solid understanding of both is essential to effectively manage species. Recent studies have assessed range-wide habitat suitability for the giant kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ingens; GKR), but data regarding occupancy is lacking in parts of its distribution. Satellite and aerial imagery were used to identify GKR burrows across their known range, producing a range-wide occupancy map and non-invasive survey methods including track plates, manned flight, unmanned aerial vehicle, and sign surveys were conducted to determine effective methods for monitoring GKR occupancy. The range-wide imagery survey detected well-studied GKR populations and revealed populations in the center of its range where GKR occupancy was previously unverified. Trapping results generally matched the range-wide imagery review findings where GKRs were present, and these areas typically had high estimates of habitat suitability. Manned flights accurately predicted GKR presence when compared to available trapping data though the method did not match well with the range-wide imagery survey. The sign surveys accurately predicted both GKR presence and absence according to the trapping data. The track plates only recorded partial kangaroo rat prints, from which GKRs were indistinguishable from a sympatric species. Finally, the data collected with the UAV was too limited to statistically assess, though anecdotally the method shows promise as a GKR survey method. This study found that these techniques, though informative on their own, are most effective when combined with at least one other survey method to predict GKR presences. When used together, these non-invasive practices will be an asset for conservationists interested in preserving habitat for GKRs.

Citation Style

Journal of Wildlife Management

1314W109A AmendmentForm.pdf (72 kB)
IACUC 13/14.W.109.A amendment form

1617W96A.pdf (1827 kB)
IACUC 16/17.W.96.A

Previous Versions

May 17 2019


Thesis/Project Location


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