A review of potential techniques for identifying individual stoats (Mustela erminea) visiting control or monitoring stations

We review ways of individually identifying stoats (Mustela erminea) and similar small mammals from visits to bait stations or to monitoring devices in the field. Tracking devices are the cheapest and most practical method currently available of measuring the presence of a particular species, but there has been little research on the recognition of individuals. Elongation of tracking tunnels, or using sooty plates rather than ink to record prints may improve detectability of individual markings. Recording visits to bait stations or tracking tunnels from DNA sequencing of hair or skin samples is likely to be prohibitively expensive for many monitoring programmes. Identification of stoats visiting bait stations or tracking tunnels using electronic devices has great potential, but these techniques are impracticably expensive because stoats move over such large areas that individual receivers and data loggers would be needed for each bait station. Chemical bait markers such as rhodamine B may be the most suitable method for identifying which animals have used a particular bait station.

Author C. Jones, H. Moller and W. Hamilton
Year 2004
Secondary title New Zealand Journal of Zoology
Volume 31
Number 3
Pages 193-203
Control method Baiting