When Gregory Geller was creating methods to guard turtle nests, he paid numerous thoughts to retaining out predators like raccoons. He designed electrical fences, and he wanted a approach to see if raccoons that have been shocked stayed away or if specific animals have been at all times capable of outfox the fence.
So Geller developed a approach to determine particular person raccoons (Procyon lotor), so he might acknowledge them on digital camera traps.
“They seldom differ an excessive amount of in bodily look as they seem on digital camera,” mentioned Geller, an impartial wildlife biologist and the creator of a current study printed within the Wildlife Society Bulletin. “They typically look similar to one another at evening in digital camera imagery.”
Beforehand, researchers used coloured dye to mark particular person raccoons, however that didn’t work for Geller’s analysis, as a result of digital camera lure photographs at evening time don’t present colour. So Geller got here up with a unique technique.
He used stay traps to lure raccoons right into a restraining funnel, permitting him to place a towel over their heads to maintain them calm whereas he used scissors to chop distinctive patterns into the fur on their tails or utilized blonde hair dye to elements of the tail or again, which confirmed up in path digital camera photographs.
“The entire course of takes a matter of minutes,” he mentioned, though the hair dye takes about 30 minutes to set earlier than he rinses it out.
The tail clippings and dye lasted for 2 to a few months, he mentioned, however the raccoons typically returned to the traps voluntarily, giving him an opportunity to mark them once more.
Whereas Geller utilized this technique to have a look at exclusion fence effectiveness, he mentioned it might be used for different forms of conservation-based research, together with how particular person raccoons reply to the recorded sounds of predators or how lengthy it takes for specific animals to habituate to repellents or different strategies meant to decrease depredation on imperiled assets.
“These are areas I can see it getting used,” he mentioned. “It’s probably that different researchers will discover completely different makes use of of each the restraining technique and marking approach for their very own analysis in their very own area of interest. Raccoons and analysis about them are more likely to be round for a while to return.”
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