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Review article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Non-invasive methods for monitoring weasels: emerging technologies and priorities for future research

Jachowski, David S.; Bergeson, Scott M.; Cotey, Stacy R.; Croose, Elizabeth; Hofmeester, Tim R.; Macpherson, Jenny; Wright, Patrick; Calderon-Acevedo, Camilo A.; Carter, Stephen P.; Durst, Andrin C.; Egloff, Gregory B.; Hamed, M. Kevin; Hapeman, Paul; Harris, Stephen N.; Hassler, Kendyl; Humbert, Jean-Yves; Karp, Denise; Kays, Roland; Mausbach, Jelena; Morin, Dana J.;
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Abstract

1. Weasels (genus Mustela and Neogale) are of management concern as declining native species in some regions and invasive species in others. Regardless of the need to conserve or remove weasels, there is increasingly a need to use non-invasive monitoring methods to assess population trends.2. We conducted a literature review and held the first ever International Weasel Monitoring Symposium to synthesise information on historical and current non-invasive monitoring techniques for weasels. We also explored current limitations, opportunities, and areas of development to guide future research and long-term monitoring.3. Our literature search revealed that in the past 20 years, camera traps were the most commonly used non-invasive monitoring method (62% of studies), followed by track plates or scent stations designed to collect footprints (23%) and walking transects for tracks in snow or soil (8.7%).4. Experts agreed that the most promising non-invasive monitoring techniques available include use of citizen scientist reporting, detection dogs, detecting tracks, non-invasive genetic surveys, and enclosed or unenclosed camera trap systems. Because each technique has benefits and limitations, using a multi-method approach is likely required.5. There is a need for strong commitment to dedicated monitoring that is replicated over space and time such that trend data can be ascertained to better inform future management action. The diversity of non-invasive monitoring methods now available makes such monitoring possible with relatively minor commitments of funding and effort.

Keywords

camera trap; Mustela; Neogale; non-invasive monitoring

Published in

Mammal Review
2024, Volume: 54, number: 3, pages: 243-260