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Arizona BatWatch participants document long-tailed weasel at Coronado National Memorial

While watching archived videos of bats at Coronado National Memorial, participants in the online citizen science project Arizona BatWatch made an exciting discovery as several participants shared videos of an unknown mammal to the project’s discussion board.

According to Helen Fitting, National Park Service Biologist with the Southeast Arizona Group, the animal was a long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata). Finding the long-tailed weasel on the videos is exciting because it is the first documented recording of a long-tailed weasel at Coronado National Memorial.

Long-tailed weasels are in the mustelid family with mink, ferrets and otters. Their bodies are approximately 4-6 inches (10-15 centimeters) long not including their long thin tails. Long-tailed weasels are the only weasels found in Arizona and are only found in wooded, high elevation parts of the state.

Thanks to Arizona BatWatch participants Aelegans, Amonite, Asixtus, Avalien, Batfan, Chriszzy22, Emandity, Illuvati and Nellie_Neshaver for helping document this exciting and unexpected discovery.

Arizona BatWatch is an online citizen science project where participants watch archived videos of bats and identify the behaviors they see. Shannon Trimboli, a researcher in the Ogden College of Science and Engineering at WKU, created the project that launched in October 2016. Funding for Arizona BatWatch comes from the National Science Foundation (grant 1223908).

Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Photo caption: A long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata) at Cedar Breaks National Monument. Participants in the Arizona BatWatch project recently documented the species at Coronado National Memorial. (Photo by NPS)

Contact: Shannon Trimboli, (270) 758-2422

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