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Porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum) in Arizona, 2011–2015

McCarthy, Michael
Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science 2017 v.47 no.1 pp. 19-22
Erethizon dorsatum, Puma concolor, death, fish, highways, road kills, students, traffic, Arizona
A five-year study to determine the status of the porcupine (Erithizon dorsatum) in the state of Arizona was conducted. Letters requesting the cooperation of several agencies and requesting the public to report any sighting of porcupines were gathered by staff and students of Eastern Arizona College. The main agency supporting this study was the Arizona Game and Fish Department. During the study 61 sightings were reported and the data from each report were analyzed to compare to previous studies by Taylor in the 1930s and Brown and Babb in 2007. Mountain lions appear to continue to be a limiting factor in controlling the population. The most significant factor documented in this study is the increase in the number of road kills. Taylor reported no road kills in the 1930s, Brown and Babb reported 21% of porcupines as road kills in 2007 and this study documented 41% as road kill. It is speculated that the increase in traffic along major highways and the slow pace of porcupines has increased this cause of death.