Conservation and Trapping News

Raccoon: Movements and Dispersal in Pennsylvania
Jul 24, 2022 06:40 ET

[Reprinted from original]

The raccoon (Procyon lotor) continues to be a prominent terrestrial rabies reservoir in the eastern United States. Describing the dispersal and movements of these animals and determining geographic features that are natural hindrances or corridors to movements could be used to assist oral rabies vaccination efforts. The landscape of the ridge-and-valley system in Pennsylvania exhibits characteristics of both natural potential hindrances and travel corridors to the movements of wildlife. The movements of 49 raccoons were monitored throughout a ridge and two adjacent valley sites to assess their movements related to these landscape features. Results suggest that few raccoons cross the ridge we studied over the short-term and that long-distance movements of these animals are uncommon in this region. Consequently, movement corridors within the ridge were largely confined to spur valleys within the ridge system. These results may be useful in strategic oral rabies vaccination programs in Pennsylvania and other areas where natural hindrances and travel corridors to movement are identified.

Key Words: landscape—movements—Pennsylvania Procyon lotor—rabies—raccoon.