Least Weasel (Mustela Nivalis)

Ileast weasel 1n 2014, Proulx and Dickson (unpublished data) investigated least weasel track characteristics. They also set up video-cameras to identify forests inhabited by least weasels. Finally, they tracked one least weasel for 2 days over more than 1 km. Their preliminary observations suggest that least weasels are not abundant, and there is a need to learn more about their habitats and hunting groundleast weasel 3s.

From a research point of view, the least weasel is an orphan species. The lack of interest to study it is attributed to its small body size and elusive behavior, the difficulty in capturing and studying it, and its poor economic value (Proulx 2012 – Canadian Wildlife Biology & Management 1: 46-50). Without a basic understanding of the ecology of the least weasel, wildlife researchers and managers are unable to properly assess the status of the species, and the need for special management measures to ensure the persistence of populations.

least weasel 2Through snow-tracking and the use of remote video-cameras, Alpha Wildlife wants to identify habitats that are critical for the survival of the species. This project would be mostly conducted in winter when cold temperatures and low food supplies may have a negative effect on the survival of the individuals. Studying least weasels is expensive because it requires frequent visits in various habitats; following a series of tracks may require several consecutive days. For this reason, there is a pressing need to acquire outside funding. Unfortunately, to date, governments and conservation associations have shown no interest in funding research on the ecology of this species.


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