Department of Environmental Studies
In winter 2000 and 2001 tracking surveys of fishers (Martes pennanti), bobcats (Lynx rufus), and coyotes (Canis latrans) were conducted at Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Flat Rock Sanctuary in Fitchburg, MA to determine movements of individuals relative to (a) cover type and (b) tracts of undeveloped land located north of the sanctuary and extending into southern New Hampshire. Fishers, coyotes and bobcats were found to move between the sanctuary and the corridor. Fishers and bobcats used the sanctuary for travelling and hunting, but probably not as part of core home ranges. Results from the 2000 season showed no preference for cover type by any of the three study species. In 2001 bobcats and coyotes showed no cover type preference, but fisher occurred in mixes hardwood/softwood cover more frequently than expected by chance. As the basis for targeting future conservation priorities, various maps were generated showing three different corridor designs along with land use and existing protected areas. To conserve the diversity of species that use the Flat Rock Sanctuary as part of core or extended home ranges, continued connection to undeveloped properties is essential. However, this study was a preliminary examination of undeveloped land in north-central Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, and further research is recommended to evaluate the potential for habitat and conservation in this area.