On Grounds Mesopredators
Mesopredators are medium-sized predators whose populations often increase when their larger predators are eliminated. Locally, these are raccoons, opossums and skunks.
Through the Wild Toledo initiative, we are attempting to establish a healthy non-reproductive population of resident skunks, opossums, and raccoons: animals which would otherwise present a disease concern to our animal collection. We are health-assessing, vaccinating and surgically sterilizing them through a grant we received from the Kenneth Scott Charitable Trust.
We are also putting global positioning satellite (GPS) logging collars on a few animals to determine the population’s geographic range, as well as learning more about urban mammal species and the critical components of their habitat. These collars turn themselves on multiple times during the night and note the animal’s location. This particular technology requires that, to access the data, we track the animals through traditional radiotelemetry and plug the collars into a computer.
Surgeries are performed and vaccinations are given to benefit the animal and the community.
These mammals make up most of the mesopredators that are worked with in this Wild Toledo Project. Racoons are omnivores and have sensitive hands used for finding food.
This leather collar with the GPS unit (black) is used to comfortably go around the neck of the animal. This unit is small and does not compromise the survivability of the animal.
Common in Ohio, this is the second most abundant animal Wild Toledo works with. This is North America’s only marsupial and, contrary to popular belief, cannot hang from its tail.
(Above) A GPS unit mounted on the collar allowed the Zoo to determined this male raccoon’s movement over the course of one month, including a lot of property beyond the Zoo. (Right) Radiotelemetry is used to track collared animals on and around Zoo grounds.