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Biological Invasions

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 1743–1759 | Cite as

Effect of travel distance, home range, and bait on the management of small Indian mongooses, Herpestes auropunctatus

  • William C. Pitt
  • Robert T. Sugihara
  • Are R. Berentsen
Original Paper

Abstract

Selection of preferred baits to attract mongooses to traps and other control devices is paramount in the effective management and control of this invasive predatory mammal. We examined the attractiveness of selected food items as baits to free-ranging mongooses in field trials at two different habitats on the island of Hawaii. We utilized radio telemetry to calculate mongoose home range and population density estimates. We implanted microchips to remotely identify and record visitations by mongooses to the candidate baits and investigated bait visitation rates, bait attraction distances, and bait discovery times. Mongooses in this study foraged over a wide area and readily investigated the various novel food baits, with fish, beef and egg-baited stations eliciting higher first and revisits over multiple days. We radio collared 34 mongooses. Overall mean home range estimates were 21.9 and 28.8 ha and did not differ between the two study sites (F = 2.12, p = 0.156), although overall male mongooses had larger home ranges than females (F = 22.92, df = 1, p < 0.0001). Extensive overlapping home ranges were recorded among individual mongooses, regardless of gender. Male mongooses were attracted from a greater distance to selected baits as compared to females (F = 15.80, df = 1, p = 0.0004) although females visited more bait stations than males at each site (F = 11.26, df = 1, p = 0.002 and F = 6.90, df = 1, p = 0.017). Baits were usually discovered within 24–30 h of exposure. Based on time to first bait discovery, no differences were found among percent of food stations visited among bait types at either site (F = 0.93, df = 4, p = 0.463 and F = 0.40, df = 3, p = 0.756). The results of this study provide insights on mongoose foraging ecology in Hawaii and the attractiveness of food baits used in developing effective control strategies in detecting and trapping mongooses in newly established areas as well as reducing or eradicating populations in native species habitat impacted by mongooses.

Keywords

Bait attractiveness Control Foraging distance Hawaii Management 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful for the support and assistance provided by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office. Capture, handling and marking of mongooses was performed with approval of the National Wildlife Research Center’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee February 25, 2005 under QA-1255. We thank Michael W. Fall and Catherine E. Swift for assistance with literature review and manuscript preparation. Special thanks to two anonymous reviewers for helpful and insightful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • William C. Pitt
    • 1
    • 3
  • Robert T. Sugihara
    • 1
  • Are R. Berentsen
    • 2
  1. 1.U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife ServicesNational Wildlife Research CenterHiloUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife ServicesNational Wildlife Research CenterFort CollinsUSA
  3. 3.Smithsonian Conservation Biology InstituteNational Zoological ParkFront RoyalUSA

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