Determining the sex of our first KRRF pygmy rabbit!
Collecting a fecal sample in between trapping.
On December 9th, Jen and I headed out to Austin to begin trapping one of the Reese River sites Jessie and I had surveyed on Thanksgiving! When we got there, there was some snow on the ground, but not enough to make it worth while to survey other sites for genetic fecal samples, so we started opportunistically trapping! We managed to catch and tag 4 rabbits between two trap checks that first day which was a real confidence booster, even though we did end up seeing many more pygmies running around! By December 13th, we caught and tagged 20 individuals and figured out that the sagebrush at this site is entirely too dense to employ the 'chase down a burrow' method of trapping (which is how I've trapped pygmies up until I started this project in April!). Although I was a little disappointed we didn't catch more, I'd say 20 pygmies in 5 days is a pretty respectable number. It has been a constant worry for me that we won't retrap any rabbits next summer, but I'm hoping that at least one of these rabbits survives and we manage to retrap it this coming summer! That being said, regardless of the number we retrap this coming summer, I think this site is going to make a phenomenal permanent site and I am very glad we decided to revisit it! In addition to tagging 20 individuals at this site, we also collected an additional 26 fecal samples to our already collected 12 samples on Thanksgiving. Really, this KRRF site seemed to be the only one in the vicinity that was able to hold its snow!