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Population trends for common prairie pothole carnivores

January 1, 1998

Since settlement of the prairie pothole region of the northern Great Plains by Europeans in the late 1800’s, carnivore populations have changed considerably—mostly due to habitat alteration and humaninflicted mortality. At least 19 species of carnivorous mammals once occurred in the prairie pothole region (Jones et al. 1983). Presently, only eight are common throughout the region—coyote, red fox, raccoon, American badger, striped skunk, mink, ermine, and long-tailed weasel (Sargeant et al. 1993). Other species that occur locally or intermittently are mountain lion, lynx, bobcat, gray wolf, gray fox, swift fox, spotted skunk, and least weasel. Grizzly bears, wolverines, and river otters once occurred in the region but are now extirpated.

Competition among species affects the distribution of coyotes, wolves, and foxes (Carbyn 1982; Rudzinski et al. 1982; Sargeant et al. 1987; Bailey 1992). These larger canids are keystone species that suppress the distribution of smaller canids (Johnson and Sargeant 1977; Dekker 1989; Johnson et al. 1989).

Citation Information

Publication Year 1998
Title Population trends for common prairie pothole carnivores
DOI
Authors Raymond J. Greenwood, Marsha A. Sovada
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Series Title
Series Number
Index ID 85392
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center