Competitive Graduate Student Assistantship Program

Urbanization Impact on Wildlife

Project Leaders: Fitsum Abadi Gebreselassie (Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology,; Martha Desmond (Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology,

Student: Savannah Perez, BS University of California-Santa Barbara 2017

Summary: The rapid pace of urbanization in the southwest United States has resulted in increased use of mitigation translocation as a tool to reduce human-wildlife conflict by moving animals out of the path of land development. This type of management has been commonly used for high profile wildlife species including the burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia). Although commonly used, the efficacy of mitigation translocation is questioned (1). Burrowing owls are commonly subjected to mitigation translocations because of their association with development, declining populations, and fossorial nature. However, outcomes of these translocations and effects on demographic parameters have not, until recently, been documented. This project will have national and local (southwest) impact setting the standard for burrowing owl translocation regionally and across North America. This species is endangered in Canada, threatened in Mexico and a species of conservation concern in the United States. New Mexico State University has the opportunity to lead the nation in addressing proper procedures for addressing conflict between this species and urban development with agricultural producers being part of the solution.