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Black-Footed Ferret Prey Requirements: An Energy Balance Estimate

Mark R. Stromberg, R. Lee Rayburn and Tim W. Clark
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 47, No. 1 (Jan., 1983), pp. 67-73
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3808053
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3808053
Page Count: 7
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Black-Footed Ferret Prey Requirements: An Energy Balance Estimate
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Abstract

A model based on calculations of metabolizable energy requirements estimated the annual prey requirements for 1 reproductive female black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) and her young. Both white-tailed and black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys leucurus and C. ludovicianus) were considered as prey. Gestation, lactation, and ferret pup growth were modeled. A general regression of mustelid prey biomass requirements helped verify metabolizable energy calculations. Populations of between 474 and 1,421 black-tailed prairie dogs and between 412 and 1,236 white-tailed prairie dogs are predicted as necessary to sustain the annual predation by the female and young ferrets. Minimum ferret densities expected to occur and sizes of ferret preserve areas were calculated. These results can be used by administrators and managers charged with black-footed ferret surveys and conservationists planning preserves for this endangered species.

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