'The rarest of the rare': New article on island spotted skunk management in the wildlife professional
The California Channel Islands are hosting a free, online island biosecurity workshop on December 6th & 7th, 2022. The workshop is for conservation practitioners, students, researchers, and others with interest in island systems. Click below for more information and to register!
Integrative & Comparative Biology has published a new study demonstrating the extent and seasonality of activity overlap between island foxes and island spotted skunks on Santa Cruz Island. Results show that foxes and skunks overlap in the temporal niche extensively during the summer when average daily temperatures are high, which could mean competition between the species varies on an annual and seasonal basis.
Friends of the Island Fox (FIF) has posted a request for proposals for their annual research grant. FIF recently broadened the scope of their grant to include island spotted skunks.
The Journal of Mammalogy has published a new study that used genetic techniques to determine that island spotted skunks diverged from their mainland ancestors over 9,000 years ago, and that the islands were likely colonized by a single matriline. The study was conducted by several Island Spotted Skunk Working Group members, including Ellie Bolas and Dr. Benjamin Sacks. As a bonus, this edition of JMamm has a photo of an island spotted skunk as the cover image! Check out the paper at the link below.
The Wildlife Society featured a blog post discussing Ellie Bolas' island spotted skunk camera trap project and the need for further island spotted skunk research and protection. Ellie completed this important work at UC Davis as part of her Master's research, and it was published in The Wildlife Society Bulletin in 2020.
Western National Parks Association: Understanding a Decade of Dietary Competition in Two Endemic Island Carnivores
"Similar to the rings of a tree trunk scripting a plant’s life span year by year, whiskers lay down atoms of carbon and nitrogen as they grow. These atoms, invisible to the human eye, hold information about what the animal was eating as the whiskers grew. How? Because the carbon and nitrogen come from their food!"
Check out this recent post from Chuck Graham, a freelance writer and photographer based in Carpinteria, CA. Chuck captured a series of photos clearly showing a pair of island foxes attempting to nab an island spotted skunk from the talons of a young red-tailed hawk.
We've seen some island foxes with neonatal spotted skunks in their mouths, but this is a new one. In the next few months, researchers on Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands will be using radio collars to identify sources of mortality among adult and juvenile spotted skunks.
In this video, island skunk biologists place a new radio collar on a skunk captured near her den on Santa Cruz Island. They collect biological samples, including hair and whiskers for genetic information and stable isotope diet analysis. After release, this skunk was tracked regularly as a part of a study on skunk den site selection.