2023 Wildlife Newsletter-for Web

Access digital copies of guides and regulations publications from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Issue link: http://digital.outdoornebraska.gov/i/1489633

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2 Eastern Spotted Skunk D id you know Nebraska is home to two species of skunk? The common and often smelled by highways striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) and the much less common and rarely seen eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius). Spotted skunks have a few common names including polecat, civet, or civet cat. Unfortunately, it's rare to see a spotted skunk in Nebraska these days and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing their status to see if they warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. The last spotted skunk confirmed in Nebraska was a roadkill specimen found near Valentine National Wildlife Refuge (Cherry County) in 2017. Since then, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) has been working to find any remaining populations in the state. In 2019, NGPC collaborated with Nebraska Master Naturalists to run a series of camera traps in the Kearney area (Buffalo County), but no spotted skunks were found. Our current partnership started in 2021 with a graduate student (April Sperfslage) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha coordinating with NGPC's Community Science Education Coordinator (Alie Mayes) to develop a long-term program that anyone with a game camera can help with. April has been running a series of camera traps, mostly in the Sandhills where that last specimen was found. Currently, she has twenty-seven camera traps deployed and has around 150,000 pictures collected! Unfortunately, no pictures show a spotted skunk, but she has gotten some great pictures of coyotes, badgers, and other common species. Running camera traps sounds easy, but it takes many digital memory cards, batteries, and travel time to keep them all operating. Fortunately, we've been able to use support from the Nebraska Wildlife Conservation Fund to purchase some of our supplies and equipment. Recently, April got some possible sightings from landowners and fur trappers in southeast Nebraska. Now she's planning to deploy some cameras and live traps in this area. Interested in helping? You can find out more information and how to participate by visiting NGPC's spotted skunk webpage at: http://outdoornebraska.gov/ spottedskunk/. Questions or spotted skunk sightings can be sent to: ngpc.spottedskunk@nebraska.gov. Eastern Spotted Skunk smelling a sardine can on the side of a tree as part of a camera trap research project. ANTHONY BRAIS Research Continues By Shaun Dunn, Zoologist, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

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