The Work of the Wildlife Professional
Orus Ilyas with the Department of Wildlife Services at India’s Aligarh Muslim University studies the conservation status and habitat use of musk deer. Asia is home to a number of species of musk deer, all of which are in decline. One of the threats facing these species is poaching: Musk deer are killed for their musk pods — glands that produce musk, which is used in perfumes. In 2011, Smithsonian reported that musk gatherers can get about $200 to $250 per gland from foreign traders. As part of her research, Ilyas is studying the conservation status and feeding ecology of Alpine musk deer in the Indian Himalayan region. The Alpine musk deer is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List.
To Ed Arnett, Director of Science and Policy Director at Bat Conservation International, roost management is critical to bat conservation. “If you don’t have roost sites for bats, you won’t have bats,” he says. At a symposium on wildlife in managed forests, Arnett talked about managing bats in intensively managed forest landscapes. According to Arnett, it’s important to remove clutter in forests that would otherwise impact a bat’s ability to maneuver through sites. Further, apart from snags and trees, bats — primarily the long-eared myotis — are also drawn to stumps and down logs that serve as day roosts. “Managing for multiple roosts is especially critical,” Arnett says.
Also at that symposium, Roger Powell, Professor Emeritus at North Carolina State University’s Department of Biology, talked about fisher populations on managed landscapes in northern California. On a side note, fishers — members of the weasel family — aren’t afraid to take on porcupines, which we all know use their spiked coat to protect themselves from predators. That’s why, when a fisher goes after a porcupine, it goes for its face. This can take 30 to 45 minutes as the fisher circles its victim biting its unprotected face as often as it can. Eventually blood loss and shock kill the porcupine. The fisher then turns it over and feeds on it. Fisher numbers were in decline since as early as the 1920s due to a number of factors, including trapping and habitat loss. Over the years, fishers have been reintroduced in a number of locations across North America. In 2011, biologists released fishers in the northern Sierra Nevada, and Powell along with his research team have been monitoring the translocated fishers’ survival and productivity.