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Title: Distinguishing tracks of marten and fisher at track-plate stations

Author: Zielinski, William J.; Truex, Richard L.;

Date: 1995

Source: Journal of Wildlife Management 59(3):571-579

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Managing and conserving uncommon mammals, such as fisher (Martes pennanti) and American marten (M. americana), depend upon a reliable mechanism to index their populations. In parts of their ranges where these species are not commercially harvested, baited track stations provide an alternative means to collect data on distribution and abundance. Although tracks of many species can be identified using unique qualitative traits, distinguishing tracks of these closely related, similar-sized mustelids requires a quantitative approach. We present a general method to collect mensurative data from track impressions on carbon-sooted track plates and use this approach to distinguish tracks of fisher and American marten. We used 80 tracks from 21 individuals to develop a discriminant function that distinguishes tracks of adults of each species. The linear combination of 3 variables, all associated with the palm (interdigital) pad, correctly classified 95 (100%) test tracks. This result makes it possible to positively identify both species without using more expensive photographic bait stations and wili facilitate development of regional survey and monitoring approaches for marten and fisher.

Keywords: Discriminant analysis, fisher, inventory, marten, Martes americana, Martes pennanti, monitoring, track plates, tracks

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Zielinski, William J.; Truex, Richard L. 1995. Distinguishing tracks of marten and fisher at track-plate stations. Journal of Wildlife Management 59(3):571-579

 


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