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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Sara Kennedy's Graduate Defense Seminar

Nov 16, 2015, 9:00am - 10:00am
333 Kottman Hall

Sara Kennedy, MS Candidate in Fisheries & Wildlife Science, will present White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) Fawn Survival and Seasonal Movement Patterns of White-tailed Deer and Coyotes (Canis latrans) in the Cleveland Metropolitan Area as her Graduate Defense Seminar in 333 Kottman Hall.

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and coyotes (Canis latrans) are challenging wildlife species to manage in urban areas. Deer often reach densities which exceed cultural and ecological carrying capacities. Varied public opinions of both species present additional challenges. To develop better estimates of survival and habitat use, and to understand the coyote-deer relationship, we conducted a multi-year study to quantify coyote and doe movement and fawn survival.

Vehicle strikes and culling were the most common causes of mortality. Average six month survival was 78%. Factors with the potential to influence fawn survival were modeled in Program Mark. The best supported models varied with the time period of the analysis, but all included age class. Additional covariates included in one or more top models included habitat composition, home range size, and road density.

Both does and fawns used natural habitat out of proportion with availability, and showed little season change in habitat use or selection. Coyotes showed substantial individual variation in all spatial metrics, but a majority increased their use of forested habitat during the hiding period.  

Improved estimates of population parameters for urban white-tailed deer can aid in management of this potentially overabundant species. Our work demonstrates fawn survival can be high in urban areas and reinforces the link between urban parkland and surrounding residential areas for managing urban wildlife.