The SMF has developed a standard procedure that can be followed if you want to determine the presence of small mustelids in an area, which roughly follows the following steps:
- Research material (transects of tracking tubes in combination with Mostela, Tubecam or a regular camera trap) are placed in locations in or surrounding the research site where weasel or stoat are expected to occur, such as linear landscape structures and corridors with sufficient cover.
Examples of such landscape structures are:
- natural edges of forest and fields with a well developed herbaceous layer;
- edges of rough patches with bramble or other dense shrubs;
- edges of natural grasslands;
- edges of waterways with reed;
- in or under dikes with basalt blocks;
- in dry ditches and along wet ditches and streams;
- in hedgerows;
- along small waterways or under bridges;
- entrances to farms;
- underneath tree roots or deadwood.
Examples of landscape features where small mustelids often occur. These are good habitats to place tracking tubes or Mostelas.
- Place tracking tubes in intervals of 15-20 m in transects of around 10 tubes (depending on the size of your study area) along linear landscape elements.
- Place a Mostela or tubecam combined with tracking tubes in a transect or look for a specific spot, for example where two linear features cross or under bridges, in tunnels under a road etc.
- We usually check the material every other week for a period of 6-8 weeks. Ideally in the period between May and August. During every check, we move the material to a new spot, check and change SD card and batteries and erase tracks from tracking tubes. We do this to cover a larger area using limited material.