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Recent Detections of Spilogale putorius (Eastern Spotted Skunk) in South Carolina

Wilson, Sarah B., Colquhoun, Rob, Klink, Amy, Lanini, Taz, Riggs, Sarah, Simpson, Brett, Williams, Amanda, Jachowski, David S.
Southeastern naturalist 2016 v.15 no.2 pp. 269-274
cameras, fur-bearing animals, historic sites, monitoring, population dynamics, public lands, skunks, Appalachian region, South Carolina
Spilogale putorius (Eastern Spotted Skunk), once a fairly common furbearer across the eastern and mid-western US, is estimated to have undergone a >90% population decline across its range since the 1950s. In South Carolina, only 17 sightings of the Eastern Spotted Skunk have ever been reported, with the most recent sighting in 1998. The objective of our study was to investigate whether this species still occurs in South Carolina. We set camera traps at 56 locations on public land in the Appalachian region of South Carolina during January–March 2015, including sites of historic records. We detected 5 individual Eastern Spotted Skunks at 5 sites between the hours of 20:00 and 03:00 during 1326 trap nights in February and March. Our findings highlight the potential for Eastern Spotted Skunks to persist in other portions of their range despite a lack of recent records, and the need for future monitoring to address whether this species is cryptic or rare throughout portions of its historic range.