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Martens making a comeback
The American marten is the only endangered mammal in the state. Katy Zart with Northland College radio station WRNC reports.
One UW-Madison graduate student is researching the weasel-like martens with the hope of growing their numbers once more.
There are roughly 200 to 300 martens in northeastern Wisconsin. That’s according to estimates from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. UW-Madison grad student Phil Manlick is studying their numbers. Manlick says the American marten has become endangered because of two main reasons.
“They originally where extirpated from the state in the ‘20s roughly after widespread logging and clear-cuts and unregulated fur trapping. They were declared extinct until being brought back in the ‘70s.”
Manlick says his research is primarily on juvenile martens that have a lower survival rate than adults.
“I do that using genetics and we’re trying to figure out roughly how many juveniles per female on a yearly basis are coming into the population.”
Manlick says it’s important for American martens to thrive because they are an indicator species.
“They’re kind of indicators of how well is the forest is doing, and how much old-growth habitat is there. Martens need a lot of structural diversity so it kind of tells us how diverse the forest is as well.”
Manlick says he hopes to find some answers within the next several months on how to grow their numbers.
“I’ve been studying carnivores for a while now. I think it’s really important research to be able to contribute to conservation of wildlife in my home-state.”
Manlick does fieldwork and research in the Clam Lake area of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
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