Giant Kangaroo Rat Population Monitoring in Panoche Valley
November 2015 - June 2016
- California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Giant kangaroo rats (GKR) are a keystone species throughout their range including the Carrizo Plain. The current four year drought and the associated lack of vegetative growth have resulted in precipitous declines in GKR populations, especially during the past two years. Kit fox populations have followed this decline and now fewer than 200 kit foxes are estimated to reside on the Carrizo Plain National Monument. The objective of the project will be to increase giant kangaroo rat survival and production by providing supplemental food at three locations in the Ciervo-Panoche Natural Area. The overall project concept is to reduce the population declines for GKR and to test the effectiveness of a supplemental feeding program. Supplemental feeding will no longer be needed when more normal rainfall returns and GKR numbers recover. Giant kangaroo rats will be the primary target species; however, given the role of GKR as ecosystem engineers, benefits to GKR populations will cascade throughout the ecosystem and provide direct benefits to a wide array of San Joaquin Valley species including San Joaquin kit fox, San Joaquin antelope squirrel, blunt-nosed leopard lizard, and the California jewelflower.