Behaviour 2019
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Determining the optimal method for identifying coteries for translocation.
Sara Colby1, Stephanie Dudley1, 2, Noah Robison1, 2, Richy Jones3, Jennifer Verdolin4, Elizabeth Peterson1, 2. 1Department of Biology, Colorado State University-Pueblo, Pueblo, CO, United States; 2Communities to Build Active STEM Engagement, Colorado State University-Pueblo, Pueblo, CO, United States; 3U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Pueblo Chemical Depot, Pueblo, CO, United States; 4School of Natural Resources in the Environment, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, United States

Prairie dog populations now inhabit 2% of their native range and conservation translocations are being used to restore populations to their native habitat. Prior research suggests that prairie dogs should be translocated in their coteries. However, different methods for identifying coteries may contribute to decreased survivorship post-release. Here, we compare methods used to identify coteries prior to translocation to determine which method provides the most accurate information on coterie membership. We mapped prairie dog burrows using ArcGIS to identify burrow clusters while territories of each coterie were determined through behavioral observations before capture-mark-release (CMR) Then, we used behavioral data of marked individuals to identify family groups and social networks post-CMR. Although the study is ongoing, we are presenting preliminary findings. We predict that social network analysis is the most accurate method because it identifies interactions between individuals within coteries. Our study will provide wildlife managers with more information regarding the best practices to increase survivorship rates during translocations.