The Ermine, haidarum subspecies is endemic to Haida Gwaii, a group of islands located 80 km off the coast of British Columbia. Genetic work indicates Ermine haidarum belong to a lineage of short-tailed weasel which has been subjected to long-term isolation. While Ermine haidarum are thought to occur in low numbers, there is evidence that numbers today are lower than they were historically. In spite of considerable survey effort to detect the presence of Ermine haidarum, proof of continued presence is limited largely to occasional sightings and by-catch from trapping for American Marten (Martes americana). While Ermine haidarum are classified as habitat generalists, local sightings indicate a preference for low elevation forested landscapes, often within 100 meters of a body of water. Coarse woody debris is thought to be beneficial, both for protection from predators and location of prey. While ermine are predominantly vole specialists, the absence of voles on Haida Gwaii increases the importance of other, less desired dietary items and might make the species more vulnerable to disturbance. Identified threats and limiting factors include habitat changes brought about by introduced species, small range and low population density, predation by native predators, competition for food, trapping, and forest harvesting. Habitat changes brought about by Sitka black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus) specifically have been identified as having a major impact upon Ermine haidarum habitat by wholesale removal of understory cover which affects protection from predators, prey availability, and competition for what is already a limited prey selection.
Ermine, haidarum subspecies Recovery Team. 2009. Recovery Strategy for the Ermine, haidarum subspecies (Mustela erminea haidarum) in British Columbia. Ministry of Environment. Recovery Plan
Topic: Recovery Planning
Keywords: sara, cosewic, bc, species at risk
Scientific Name: Mustela erminea haidarum
English Name: Ermine, Haidarum Subspecies
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