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Rodent Management in Death Valley National Park

  • Author(s): Gasser, Erv
  • Badzik, Bruce
  • et al.
Abstract

Death Valley National Park located 120 miles from any town, has a historic rodent problem. Native mice and commensal rodents are damaging historic structures and putting visitors and park employees at risk of contracting diseases from the rodents’ presence. The majority of structures found in Death Valley are on the National Historic Register, meaning that repairs and/or improvements to the buildings are highly regulated, and some changes to the historic structure may not be permitted. This study looks at the feasibility of controlling rodents with minimal impacts to buildings and to the native wildlife found in the Park that is protected under National Park Service policy. A variety of tactics were employed to manage the rodent problem, including surveying and identifying the problems species and sites; rodent trapping; limited rodenticide use; and rodent proofing when possible. When all tactics were employed and Park staff became committed in their efforts to help solve the issue, a substantial drop in rodent populations was observed and maintained over the course of the year-long study.

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