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Erath, Nadine, 2022. Mustelid Mugshots : a new camera-tube-lure system as monitoring tool for European polecats (Mustela putorius) in Sweden. Second cycle, A2E. Umeå: SLU, Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies



European polecat (Mustela putorius) populations are reported to be declining in a large part of its range. The species is listed in Annex V of the Habitat Directive, which requires periodical monitoring and reporting of its conservation and distribution trends. However, many countries lack monitoring data for polecats and suitable monitoring methods are missing. In Sweden, the only available data comes from 1) hunters that report their bags and 2) sightings. Robust methods are missing. Therefore, a method for systematic monitoring is needed to get updated data about the polecat distribution and population size.
In this study I tested a newly developed tube-lure system (“polecam”) in four study sites in southern Sweden. I did this by placing 49 polecams during a period of two months in both spring (March-April) and fall (September-October) 2021. I related which landscape features influenced the detection probability: the distances from each polecam to the nearest buildings and main roads, the length of hedgerows in a 45m radius buffer around each polecam and a protective cover index (score 1-10) measured in the field. Furthermore I tested if the I3S-software was able to semi-automatically identify polecats in the study sites and were able to photograph their facial masks. However, it was not possible to identify individuals with the software I3S. My analyses of the landscape features showed, in contrast to my expectation, a high detection probability close to main roads, while other landscape features were not associated with the polecat detection. Further adaptions of the polecam and more studies about the landscape features, but also openness about alternative approaches is needed, to be able to develop a robust monitoring system.

Main title:Mustelid Mugshots
Subtitle:a new camera-tube-lure system as monitoring tool for European polecats (Mustela putorius) in Sweden
Authors:Erath, Nadine
Supervisor:Hofmeester, Tim
Examiner:Ecke, Frauke
Series:Examensarbete / SLU, Institutionen för vilt, fisk och miljö
Volume/Sequential designation:2022:20
Year of Publication:2022
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:None
Supervising department:(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Keywords:mustela putorius, population status, monitoring, facial mask
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal ecology
Nature conservation and land resources
Deposited On:13 Dec 2022 11:20
Metadata Last Modified:14 Dec 2022 02:00

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