Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Texas
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Texas Project


TPW 47: Assessing Texas Kangaroo Rat Habitat Connectivity, Management, and Monitoring Protocols

April 2021 - August 2024


Personnel

Participating Agencies

  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

The Texas kangaroo rat (Dipodomys elator) is a rare species endemic to the Central Great Plains and Southwest Tablelands ecoregions in north-central Texas. Due to substantial reduction in distribution and suspected population declines, the species has been petitioned for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act and is ranked as a G2 - imperiled (global ranking) and S1 – critically imperiled (state ranking) species. We propose a study addressing three important steps in the effort to conserve the species. First is to conduct experimental vegetation manipulations to determine feasibility and effectiveness of restoring, enhancing, or creating usable habitat for Texas kangaroo rats. Second is to assess movement patterns and dispersal of Texas kangaroo rats, especially the success of getting dispersal of individuals into restored areas from proximal occupied areas. Third is to model connectivity and environmental resistance to dispersal of Texas kangaroo rats within and among the known occupied clusters; such a model would allow targeted application of habitat restoration or creation. This project has been in a ‘pilot status’ due to delays in funding and obtaining access to private lands. We have been working on 1) identifying landowners who will allow access and habitat manipulations for this study and 2) a means to track movements of tagged animals to assess their response to habitat restoration efforts. We have contacted landowners that may allow us to start field work this fall. We are also working on a grid system to use pit tags for tracking movements of kangaroo rats rather than much heavier and larger radio/GPS collars.

Presentations Presentation Date
Washington, J., D.R. Malone, R. Martin, and C.W. Boal. Development of an improved survey method for the Texas kangaroo rat (Dipodomys elator). Annual meeting of The Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society, Houston, TX, Feb. 2023. February 2023
Washington, J., D. Malone, R. Martin, and C.W. Boal. Development of an improved survey method for the Texas kangaroo rat. Annual Meeting of the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society, Houston, TX 21-23 Feb 2024. February 2024
Malone, D.R., C.W. Boal, R. Martin, R. Stevens, and C. Villa Lobos. Assessing Texas kangaroo rat habitat management and population connectivity. Annual Meeting of the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society, Marble Falls, TX, 24-26 Feb. 2022. February 2022
Malone, D.R., C.W. Boal, R. Martin, R. Stevens, and C. Villa Lobos. A novel approach to assessing Texas kangaroo rat habitat use. Annual meeting of The Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society, Houston, TX, Feb. 2023. February 2023
Malone, C.R., C.W. Boal, R. Martin, R. Stevens, and C. Villalobos. Pilot study for a passive integrated transponder antenna array for tracking small mammals. Annual Meeting of the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society, Houston TX, Feb 2024 February 2024