Muskrat captures in Flanders, Belgium
Muskrat captures in Flanders, Belgium is an occurrence dataset published by the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO). It contains information on all officially registered captures of muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) in and around Flanders, Belgium between 1991 and 2018. These data are provided by different management actors: the Flanders Environment Agency (VMM), Rattenbestrijding Oost-Vlaanderen (RATO vzw), Polders and Wateringen (vvpw), and provincial and municipal trappers, and aggregated and analyzed by the INBO since 1991. Here it is published as a standardized Darwin Core Archive and includes for each occurrence record an occurrenceID, date, location, samplingProtocol (trap) and samplingEffort (number of days or traps), scientific name, and the organization who made the capture. The original dataset contains close to 450.000 occurrences and is available on GitHub, but only presence records (over 103.000) are included in this version, which can be used to track muskrat distribution in Flanders since 1991. Issues with the dataset can be reported at https://github.com/inbo/mica-occurrences/issues
We have released this dataset to the public domain under a Creative Commons Zero waiver. We would appreciate it if you follow the INBO norms for data use (https://www.inbo.be/en/norms-data-use) when using the data. If you have any questions regarding this dataset, don't hesitate to contact us via the contact information provided in the metadata or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
This dataset was published for the MICA project, which received funding from the European Union’s LIFE Environment sub-programme under the grant agreement LIFE18 NAT/NL/001047.
The data in this occurrence resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 103,625 records.
This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.
Download the latest version of this resource data as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) or the resource metadata as EML or RTF:
The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.
How to cite
Researchers should cite this work as follows:
Cartuyvels E, Brosens D, Adriaens T, Baert K, Desmet P, Devisscher S, Neukermans A, Stuyck J, Huysentruyt F (2021): Muskrat captures in Flanders, Belgium. v1.9. Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO). Dataset/Occurrence. https://doi.org/10.15468/pequ4z
Researchers should respect the following rights statement:
The publisher and rights holder of this work is Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO). To the extent possible under law, the publisher has waived all rights to these data and has dedicated them to the Public Domain (CC0 1.0). Users may copy, modify, distribute and use the work, including for commercial purposes, without restriction.
Occurrence; Observation; muskrat; invasive alien species; LIFE; MICA; Occurrence
Who created the resource:
Who can answer questions about the resource:
Who filled in the metadata:
In and around Flanders, Belgium
|Bounding Coordinates||South West [50.67, 2.53], North East [51.51, 5.94]|
This dataset contains officially registered captures of muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) in Flanders and around. Muskrat is listed as an invasive species of EU concern sensu the EU Regulation 1143/2014, which requires member states to prevent or manage its introduction and spread.
|Species||Ondatra zibethicus (muskrat)|
|Start Date / End Date||1992-01-01 / 2018-12-31|
Invasive alien species such as the coypu and muskrat pose a major threat to biodiversity and cost millions of euros annually. By feeding on rushes and reeds, these animals cause serious damage to the environment in which they live and endangered species suffer from habitat loss. The disappearance of reeds and digging in dikes represents a safety risk for humans in the lowland areas. With the LIFE project MICA (https://lifemica.eu/), the partners from the participating countries want to develop a transnational plan for the management of coypu and muskrat populations in Europe and aim to reduce their population. The objective of an effective population control of coypu and muskrat is to protect lowlands from flooding, to prevent crop damage and loss of biodiversity. The objective of the project is to serve as a pilot and demonstration project in which ‘best practices’ are tested and new techniques are developed for a more efficient control of muskrat and coypu populations. By involving organisations from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, the project also promotes international cooperation and knowledge exchange in the field of muskrat and coypu management.
|Title||MICA - Management of Invasive Coypu and muskrAt in Europe|
|Study Area Description||Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany|
The personnel involved in the project:
Before 2000, baits infused with rodenticides were used to control muskrats. These catches were seldom registered as animals could not be recovered. It is therefore likely that reported catches up until this point in time are an underestimation. Since 2000, Flanders has banned the use of rodenticides for muskrat control and the control is performed purely mechanical using various types of traps. These traps will be laid out either at fixed distances close to the regional borders as a passive control mechanism or they will be placed where traces of muskrat presence are reported as active control mechanisms (Verbeylen et al. 2002). These traps are controlled minimally each week but at high densities it is more likely that a trapper will check them each day. The date of an observation is therefore the date that the animal was retrieved from the trap. Trapping techniques used in Flanders are described in the best practice of Stuyck (2016).
|Study Extent||Muskrats were introduced in 1928 in Belgium as a fur animal. As early as 1938, its eradication was ordered, making the muskrat control program one of the longest standing control programs for any organism in Belgium. Since then, there have been many different actors and control methods, and today the control is still spread over several management actors and public authorities. In 1991 control was organized at the municipal level, many of whom hired private firms to control muskrats (Stuyck 2002). Catches, bait use, effort and bycatches (most of the time) were submitted monthly to Landelijke Waterdienst /AMINAL - afdeling Water by mail. Muskrat control in Flanders was regionalized and strongly professionalized at the end of the 1990s. For-profit trapping and the fur trade of muskrats was banned. The Flanders Environment Agency (VMM) became responsible for controlling muskrats on all streams under Flemish regional jurisdiction. They are complemented by other management actors, such as provincial and municipal trappers, Rattenbestrijding Oost-Vlaanderen (RATO vzw) and Polders and Wateringen (vvpw).|
|Quality Control||See step description.|
Method step description:
- Source data are submitted by the different management actors on either a monthly or yearly basis. Initially these submission where done by mailing the monthly numbers which were then digitized in Excel spreadsheet. Since the early 2000s all management actors have switched to submitting their catches in Excel spreadsheets.
- A csv export of the master Excel spreadsheet was uploaded to a GitHub repository (https://github.com/inbo/muskrat-occurrences).
- We developed a RMarkdown script to document and perform the transformation of the data to Darwin Core, which includes the following steps:
- Perform some basic data cleaning of the raw data.
- Create an occurrence core file (http://rs.gbif.org/core/dwc_occurrence_2015-07-02.xml) for presence-only and all data.
- The presence-only Darwin Core data file is uploaded to the INBO IPT and documented with metadata.
- The dataset is published and registered with GBIF.
- Geeraerts-Bracops M (1974) De strijd tegen de muskusratten. Informatiedossier n° 3. Gemeentekrediet-Leefmilieu, België.
- Stuyck J (2002) De muskusrat, Ondatra zibethicus, in Vlaanderen: introductie, verspreiding en... een jarenlange bestrijding. Bulletin de l'Institut Royal Des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique Biologie, 72, 241-246.
- Stuyck J (2016) Code voor goede praktijk voor het vangen van de muskusrat, Ondatra zibethicus, in Vlaanderen. Implementatie van Europese Overeenkomst inzake internationale normen voor de humane vangst van dieren met behulp van vallen. Brussel: Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek.
- Verbeylen G, Stuyck J, Thomas P & Van der Weeën M (2002) Samenwerkingsovereenkomst “Rattenbestrijding in Natuurgebieden”. Afdeling Water.
- Adriaens T, Verreycken H, Coupremanne M, Branquart E, Barbier Y, Latli A, Devisscher S (2019) Distribution of invasive alien species of Union concern (Regulation (EU) 1143/2014) for the reporting period 2015-2018. Dataset. Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3060173
The authors would like to thank all the different management actors: the the Flanders Environment Agency (VMM), Rattenbestrijding Oost-Vlaanderen (RATO vzw), Polders and Wateringen (vvpw), and provincial and municipal trappers for providing the data and continuing to improve the quality of data collected.
|Purpose||Muskrat catch data are collected by the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) to monitor muskrat populations and the efficiency of their management in Flanders. Management has been going since 1938 and although some data collection happened before 1991 (e.g. Geeraerts-Bracops 1974) it is only from this point forward that all catches were collected systematically per month and per municipality. Since management was and is spread over different management actors (the Flanders Environment Agency (VMM), Rattenbestrijding Oost-Vlaanderen (RATO vzw), Polders and Wateringen (vvpw), and provincial and municipal trappers) data needed to be integrated to get a full view of the status of muskrat populations in Flanders and their management. More recently this dataset has also been used to report (Adriaens et al. 2019) on the management of Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern (Regulation (EU) 1143/2014).|