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Capturing Long-eared jerboas

By on April 2, 2008 in EDGE Fellows, EDGE Updates, Focal species, Long-eared jerboa, Mammals, Uncategorized

Our Mongolian EDGE Fellow Uuganbadrah Oyunkhishig sent the EDGE Team some information on how he has been harmlessly capturing Long-eared jerboas to collect data that will feed into a conservation action plan for this incredible desert animal. Here is what he sent:


The most important part of this study is to capture long-eared jerboa without hurting or affecting them negatively.


Pitfall traps provide the most effective means of capturing small terrestrial mammals, such as jerboa and shrews. A pitfall trap is a container placed in the ground so that its open end is flush with the surface. Animals are captured when they fall through the opening into the container below. This trap was made a narrow iron to the workshop in Mongolia. I was usually capturing long-eared jerboas by Pitfall trap. This study will help us to understand the relationship between E. naso and other species within the Gobi ecosystem.

The only approach that was effective for the long eared jerboa was pitfall trapping, usually with fish bait.  To set pitfall traps we need dig on different soil surface. Some soil is very hard. We take to dig it for 3 hours because it is contained hard soil pieces, stone and rock. But to do our research well I dig a hole doing one’s best. If it rains, all pitfall traps will full to the water and we cover up all traps. If We don’t cover up, captured animals will die.


Mammal Sherman trap is the most effective means for capturing other small terrestrial mammals unharmed. A typical box trap like Sherman trap is rectangular and open at one or both ends and contains a trip pan with bait inside. The animal is captured when it contacts the trip pan, releasing spring-loaded doors, which close. Jerboa may be retained in live traps for a few hours, if bait and bedding are provided. Sometimes local people are helped my field research to set all trap in field area.  In the pilot study no long eared jerboas were caught in the Sherman traps, and very few were reliably identified on the night transects.  However, Sherman traps with various types of grain were just as effective for all other species and are more humane (usually only one species caught per trap).

When we set all Sherman trap, we was facing a big problem: wind. There is lots of wind in gobi desert. Sometimes to find some traps that had blown away and we was looking for them for a long time.  

For this study I will target the long eared jerboa with pitfall traps baited with fish (hopefully reducing the number of seed eating rodents that are captured), but will also use the Sherman traps with four different types of bait to gain insight into the range of species that are found sympatrically and allopatrically with E. naso.
Pitfall traps can be constructed out bait, as are live traps along runway. Bait can increase the probability of capture. 


 I took following baits. 1. dried fruits, 2. common mix with yellow rice, rice, buckwheat, chocolate cream, peanut, vanilla sugar etc, 3. tinned fish and 4.muesli and milk.

We check all traps 3 times night because long-eared jerboa may be killed by other species. Long-eared jerboa is very tiny. In other word Long-eared jerboa is much smaller than other species. If we don’t check traps regularly, Long-eared jerboa will die. We won’t let die because they are endangered species.

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