Upper Left: Rabbit, Jessica Weinberg
Upper Left: Shrew, NPS photo
Bottom: California Vole, NPS photo

Small mammals are an important part of Coastal Southern California national parks because they support many wide-ranging predator species, such as the island fox and bobcats, and are closely tied to habitat alteration and degradation, as well as restoration. The NPS have and continue to conduct several small mammal studies to provide park managers with sound knowledge of the functioning of terrestrial systems. For example:

  • At Cabrillo National Monument and the Point Loma peninsula, small mammals are monitored as part of the terrestrial herpetofauna monitoring program.
  • On the Channel Islands, deer mouse population dynamics vary in response to numerous factors, including predator abundance and diversity, vegetation, and climate.
  • In the Santa Monica Mountains, documenting small mammal distribution and abundance is essential to understanding the impacts of urbanization and fragmentation on natural systems in urban areas.

Data from these studies allow park managers to document native species recoveries and/or declines, responses to habitat restoration activities, climate change, invasions, as well as removal, of feral and non-native animals, and impacts of urban proximity and habitat alteration on the small mammal community and on the predator communities that depend on them.