Conservation Connect: Small Mammals

Conservation Connect: Small Mammals

(birds chirpping, ducks quacking) Today we’re coming to
you from the prairie. (music playing) Hi, everyone. Welcome to the US Fish and
Wildlife Service’s Conservation Connect. I’m Chelsea McKinney,
and today we’re going to explore conservation
careers, awesome animals, and all kinds of technology that
conservation professionals use to study and help wildlife. Today I’m coming to you from
Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. (music playing) Joining us today we
have Ariel Elliott, a researcher at the
University of Tennessee, who is studying small
mammals here at Sevilleta. Ariel, thank you so
much for having us at this amazing refuge. What beautiful prairie you have. Thank you for coming down. I’m wondering, what is
the best part of your job? The best part of my
job is being out here. This is my office. And it’s pretty
amazing, expansive, and I see new things every day. What kinds of techniques are you
using to study small mammals? Can you show us? What exactly do you do here? Yeah. I can show you out in the field. Come with me. All right. Let’s go. (music playing) We started by checking some
of Ariel’s small mammal traps. You can peer inside side. A little pocket mouse. You got one! So cute. So then I just usually
get my bag out. You have to wrap it
around the corners to make it tight so
they don’t escape out. (crinkling plastic bag) You just do a little swoop,
and into the bag they go. (crinkling plastic bag) Twist it. Weigh them. (music playing) This one weighs 19 in the bag. How much does the bag weigh? The bag weighs eight. And there’s not a
lot of food in here. So you know that the bag
would be minus eight. I’m going to scooch
him into the corner. You just grab their scruff,
like you would a cat. Yep, like a kitten or a puppy? And there you have it. Ah, that’s so cute. It’s a silky pocket mouse? And I usually just mark them to
show that they were captured. Black is for the first
night of capture. The first capture, so
you put that on the body. Yep, I give them a little vest. (music playing) So if we capture another
one that has black, that means you’ve captured
it at least one other time. And what does that tell us? If you capture enough
of the black ones it means it was a recapture. It means you can
tell population size. So I can estimate
a population size based on how many
I have recaptured that have the black markings. Yes. (music playing) What do we have? We have a woodrat. A woodrat? (music playing) Whoa. That thing is not small. Refuge biologist
John Erz assisted in processing this woodrat. Let’s weigh it. (music playing) 168. Yep. A fancy new ear piercing. You’ll be really cool. (music playing) Then we released
this little guy. (music playing) There he goes. (music playing) Now it was time for me to
get some hands-on experience weighing a kangaroo rat. All right. I think I’ve got to weight it. I’m going to weigh it. I’ve got the scale. Twist. (music, crinkling plastic) This one has a tail. (music playing) What have we got? Like 64? (music playing) Once I finished my
measurements, I set him free. (music playing) Ariel, can you tell me
more about small mammals, what kinds of species you’re
finding in these traps, and then why you find
them so interesting? I find them interesting
because they’re small and they’re really adorable. And there’s so many of them. You wouldn’t suspect because
it’s like nothing’s out here. But there is. There’s desert, but
it’s full of life. And the types of
species that I get are kangaroo rats basically
and the small pocket mouse, which you saw earlier. Now, you have the coolest job. Students that are going into
school, what kinds of things should they be doing to
get a job as cool as yours? Get out there. Go talk to your professors
and your teachers. Just go out for activities
that are outdoors. Thank you, Ariel, so
much for showing us around Sevilleta
National Wildlife Refuge and this amazing
prairie that you have. Thank you for coming. But you haven’t really
seen it all yet. This is just a small part of it. (music playing) It’s really amazing when we can
combine our love of wildlife, the beautiful outdoors
and the techniques of catching small
mammals to help protect our fish, wildlife,
and our beautiful places. We’ll see you guys next time
on the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Conservation Connect. (music playing)

local_offerevent_note March 7, 2020

account_box Gilbert Heid


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