Pacific Northwest Porcupines Project

North American porcupines have a broad geographic distribution across much of the continent, but recent evidence suggests that their populations may be declining in some areas, including the Pacific Northwest. Estimating baseline historical and contemporary distributions of Porcupines is necessary for initiating monitoring efforts and, if necessary, informing strategic conservation actions. We collaborated with Humboldt State University to compile occurrence records of porcupines in Washington, Oregon, and California from 1908 to 2018. We modeled the historical and contemporary distributions of porcupines and found a recent shift in the occupied environmental niche of porcupines in the Pacific Northwest away from forested areas and towards desert scrub and grassland vegetation communities (Appel et al. 2021).

We are also collaborating with Humboldt State University, Rogue Detection Teams, and the Levi Lab at Oregon State University to evaluate the effectiveness of non-invasive survey methods for porcupine. Methods include sodium-soaked wood blocks, non-invasive genetic sampling, and scat-detection teams.