Jared Ortega

Wildlife Tech Class of 2017
Carmel High School
Mentor: Chris Nagy (MRG)

Project:  Distribution of Fishers, Coyotes, Bobcats and Foxes in Westchester County

Project Status: Ongoing

Project Description:

Martes pennant (Fisher), Canis latrans (Coyote), Lynx rufus (Bobcat) and Vulpes vulpes (Red Fox) are predators native to the Westchester County area. After numerous Coyote sightings and Fisher sightings in southern Westchester and even New York City, it is evident that these species are colonizing or re-colonizing many parts of southern New York after being extirpated over a century ago. The objective of this study was to determine if these species, Fisher in particular, are present in protected areas throughout Westchester County and to explore possible habitat or landscape associations that might be useful in predicting their distributions presently and in the future as range expansion/reclamation continues. I hypothesized that Fishers, Bobcats and, perhaps, Foxes will only be photographed in more remote sites due to their tendencies to avoid human activity while Coyotes will be detected in all locations regardless of habitat due to their generalist nature. Sixty-seven camera traps were deployed across northern and central Westchester County in 2015. Fishers were detected in 6 sites (9%), bobcats in (7%), coyotes in (52%), and red foxes in 36%. Occupancy rate (naïve presence corrected for detection rate) for fishers was 0.16 ± 0.13; for bobcats, -0.23 ± 0.15; coyotes, 0.64 ± 0.09; and red foxes, 0.62 ± 0.14.  No strong habitat correlations were found, but data collection and analysis will continue for several years.

Posted in WTP Techs.