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Students to study at-risk swift fox

September 23, 2013

Chadron State College, in collaboration with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, has begun an effort to document the occurrence of swift foxes and identify the anthropogenic and ecological factors that limit their distribution. The swift fox has been identified as a Tier 1 at-risk species.

A full-grown swift fox is about the size of a house cat and its tail has a black tip compared the red fox which is larger and has a white tip on its tail. The swift fox tends to live underground in prairie landscapes while the red fox tends to live in wooded areas.

Lucia Corral, UNL Ph.D. student, has recruited 50 students from CSC to assist with a survey of the swift fox. This volunteer opportunity is being offered by Corral to students at CSC and UNL.

This is the latest of numerous collaborative wildlife studies involving the Nebraska Game and Parks and CSC.

Corral spoke to CSC students in the Wildlife Club and those enrolled in the following courses: Introduction to Plant Science, Introduction to Wildlife Management, Wildlife and Livestock Diseases, and the First Year Inquiry course Home on the Range.

In late September or early October, Corral will present a training session for students. The surveys will be conducted in October and November. The students volunteering with Corral will be setting up trail cameras to detect swift fox, a process which will be repeated every fall and spring for the next four to five years. The cameras will be set up for a minimum of 10 nights.

Any landowners or students who are interested or want to participate should contact Corral at 402-318-4734 or luciacorral@gmail.com or Dr. Teresa Frink, CSC associate professor and department chair of Applied Sciences, at 308-432-6373 or tfrink@csc.edu.

—Miranda Wieczorek, College Relations Liaison

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