MICA - Muskrat occurrences collected in West Flanders, Belgium is an occurrence dataset published by the Research Institute of Nature and Forest (INBO). It is part of the LIFE project MICA, in which innovative techniques are tested for a more efficient control of muskrat and coypu populations, both invasive species. This dataset contains muskrat trap captures. Here it is published as a standardized Darwin Core Archive and includes for each occurrence record an occurrenceID, date, location, the number of recorded individuals, status (present/absent) and scientific name. 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.
The data were collected as part of 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 1,408 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.
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, De Rycke P (2023). MICA - Muskrat occurrences collected in West Flanders, Belgium. Version 1.2. Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO). Occurrence dataset. https://ipt.inbo.be/resource?r=mica-wvl-occurrences&v=1.2
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.
This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 34b06811-2240-44e0-8a9f-eec5d5a54972. Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by Belgian Biodiversity Platform.
Occurrence; Occurrence; animal damage‚ biodiversity‚ public awareness campaign‚ flood protection‚ pest control‚ damage prevention‚ flood control; Occurrence
- Originator ●
- Point Of Contact
- Metadata Provider ●
- Originator ●
- Point Of Contact
Province of West Flanders, Belgium
|South West [49.192, 2.231], North East [51.31, 11.505]
Ondatra zibethicus (muskrat)
|Start Date / End Date
|2019-06-11 / 2024-01-31
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.
|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.This is explained in Dwc:samplingEffort Trapping techniques used in Flanders are described in the best practice of Stuyck (2016). Conibeartraps, fishtraps and baittraps are used for this dataset. RATO vzw carries out active control on the public areas in East Flanders. The trapper searches along the public waterways, street canals, container parks... to find traces of muskrats and brown rats. The transitions of closed to open sewer are extra guarded.
|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).
|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.
- An export of the masterdata originating from the province of West Flanders was received (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 Darwin Core data file is uploaded to the INBO IPT and documented with metadata.
- The dataset is published and registered with GBIF.
|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).