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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Application of burrow cameras in wildlife damage research

  • Author(s): VerCauteren, Kurt C.
  • Pipas, Michael J.
  • Bourassa, Jean B.
  • et al.

Many fossorial species of wildlife cause damage in a variety of land-use settings. Research of these species is challenging because of the complications associated with working underground. Traditional methods of conducting research on fossorial rodents in their natural environments are expensive, labor intensive, and invasive on the landscape. More innovative and effective methods of doing research underground are needed. We evaluated a burrow-probe camera for viewing inside the burrows of California ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) as part of an anticoagulant baiting study. It was useful for locating carcasses as well as for collecting information on live squirrels and non-target species. We also used burrow cameras to aid in on-going studies of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) and evaluated their utility in the burrows and dens of other mammals along the front range of Colorado. We will discuss our evaluations of burrow cameras and applications for their use in wildlife damage research.

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