Wildlife Tech Class of 2021
Dobbs Ferry High School
Mentor: Sarah Walkley
Project: The impact of anthropogenic effects on North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) behavior at latrine sites
Project Status: Completed
While it is well known that wildlife is affected by humans due to pollution, the mere presence of humans in close proximity to wildlife can also have an impact. To examine the impact of high human use on river otter (Lontra canadensis) activity I measured otters’ use of latrine sites located in riparian areas that experience heavy human use and sites in areas of low human use. Otters are tied to riparian areas but repeatedly defecate and leave prey remains at locations known as latrine sites on the shore. From March 21st 2020 to June 11th 2020 I monitored five latrine sites with camera traps to record the amount and timing of otter activity. The amounts levels of human and potential predator (bobcat (Lynx rufus) , coyote (Canis latrans), bear (Ursus americanus) and fox (Vulpes vulpes)) activity were also calculated at each latrine site. Overall, the levels of otter presence were lower at latrines sites close to roads and trails, and lower at sites with higher levels of both human and predator activity.
Caroline won first place at the Westchester Science and Engineering Fair in 2021