Population trends for common prairie pothole carnivores

By:  and 
Edited by: M. J. MacP.A. OplerC. E. Puckett Haecker, and P.D. Doran



Since settlement of the prairie pothole region of the northern Great Plains by Europeans in the late 1800’s, carnivore populations have changed considerably—mostly due to habitat alteration and humaninflicted mortality. At least 19 species of carnivorous mammals once occurred in the prairie pothole region (Jones et al. 1983). Presently, only eight are common throughout the region—coyote, red fox, raccoon, American badger, striped skunk, mink, ermine, and long-tailed weasel (Sargeant et al. 1993). Other species that occur locally or intermittently are mountain lion, lynx, bobcat, gray wolf, gray fox, swift fox, spotted skunk, and least weasel. Grizzly bears, wolverines, and river otters once occurred in the region but are now extirpated.

Competition among species affects the distribution of coyotes, wolves, and foxes (Carbyn 1982; Rudzinski et al. 1982; Sargeant et al. 1987; Bailey 1992). These larger canids are keystone species that suppress the distribution of smaller canids (Johnson and Sargeant 1977; Dekker 1989; Johnson et al. 1989).

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Population trends for common prairie pothole carnivores
Year Published 1998
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description 3 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Status and trends of the nation's biological resources
First page 461
Last page 463
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