Hoopa Ringtail Project
Ringtails, the smallest member of the raccoon family, is a species of conservation concern in California and Oregon, yet little is known about their basic ecology in the northwestern edge of their distribution. Diurnal rest sites, such as cavities in live and standing-dead trees, are an essential habitat element for ringtails and co-occurring mesocarnivores. Ringtails use diurnal rest sites as shelter during adverse weather conditions, refugia from predators, such as the co-occurring fisher, and dens to raise young.
We collaborated with the Hoopa Valley Tribe and Humboldt State University to better understand the forest conditions associated with rest sites selected by ringtails can inform forest management practices. Using data collected via radio telemetry, we found that ringtails were more likely to select rest sites in mature older forests compared to oak woodland and open areas and were less likely to select rest sites closer to perennial water sources. We did not detect an effect of fishers on the selection of rest sites. These results indicate that both late- and some early-seral forest conditions provide suitable habitat for ringtail rest sites and ultimately demonstrate that ringtails use a mosaic of seral stages in the forests of the Pacific Northwest (Gundermann et al. In Press).