With the help of several interns, we have started to place 50 tracking tunnels per site to monitor the small mustelid populations. In the first site monitored, we had three tubes with footprints of stoats.
We also found four small mustelid feces, three of them fresh. We keep them for determination of bromadiolone in feces and genetics.
To estimate predation by small mustelids, two of three tunnels visited by small mustelids had the bait (water voles) partly eaten.
We also found 14 red fox scats in transects to be repeated seasonally to obtain information of abundance and diet too.
We have waited to estimate vole abundance because most of the indices we can find now could be relatively old and could be more difficult to obtain information of current vole abundance.
We have been talking to farmers, and they seem not to be treating with bromadiolone, but here it will be much more likely during the autumn. This is something we already knew due to the information that FREDON Franche-Comté provides us for the different communes.
Thanks to the interns, farmers and colleagues for their motivation to collaborate with this project. We spend really nice moments together and it would be much more difficult to do it without them 🙂