Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Peregrine Audubon hosts Ukiah presentation on Elk in Coastal Northern California

The Peregrine Audubon Society will host Carrington Hilson on Elk in Coastal Northern California on Tuesday, October 17 at 7 pm in the Ukiah City Council Chambers, 300 Seminary Ave.

Hilson’s presentation was on coastal elk research and management in northern California, including Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino counties.

The focus of Hilson’s position is to obtain a comprehensive assessment of elk populations and their ecology in Northern California. Obtaining accurate population estimates of Roosevelt elk (Cervus canadensis roosevelti) and tule elk (C. c. nannodes) in northwestern California is difficult because the species is widespread and most herds occupy isolated locations, which hinders traditional surveying methods.

This study worked to estimate abundance and compare several survey techniques and their usefulness in monitoring elk populations. It also examines habitat use, resource selection, behavior, recruitment, disease, and cause-specific mortality. This information will allow the CW Department to develop a long-term elk monitoring program that allows for the management and conservation of elk.

Hilson is the elk research biologist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in the Northern Region. He has a BS degree in biology from Virginia Polytechnic and State University (2004) and an MS degree in wildlife from California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt (2013). Before starting his elk work in 2016, Hilson was the Wildlife Disease Biologist for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, managing the statewide chronic wasting disease surveillance program and conducting statewide captures. Some of the projects he has been involved in during his career include pronghorn and bighorn sheep relocations, wildlife and livestock diseases, sylvatic plaque ecology, West Nile virus detection, and the demography of small mammals, passerines, and raptors.

Other upcoming events include Tule Elk. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (Non-Profit Conservation Organization) Mendo-Lake Chapter Banquet is planned for Saturday, Nov. 18, from 5:30 to 10 p.m. at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds, Purdy Hall in Ukiah. RMEF donates local revenue to CDW, USFS, and BLM for public access acquisition, land management, and conservation education. Tickets are $95 and include a meal and a supporting membership.

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