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EAC invites participation in its Porcupine Project

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EAC invites participation in its Porcupine Project

By Lori Dugan

Thatcher, AZ—The Careers in Environmental Biology (BIO101E) class at Eastern Arizona College joined with the Arizona Game and Fish Department in 2011 to conduct a research project intended to identify populations of porcupines throughout the state of Arizona, and members of the community were invited to help.

“We are still gathering information on sightings and road kills of porcupine in Arizona,” says EAC biology instructor and coordinator for the project, Mike McCarthy.

“We’ve been having porcupine claws from road kills checked for DNA, and the results will ultimately assist in determining specific populations of porcupines in the state.”

Community members are encouraged to report any sightings of porcupine or a road kill of a porcupine to McCarthy’s office so that the information can be included in the research. He can be reached by telephone at 928-428-8257, or by e-mail at

“Since the project began we have collected many reports from around the state. Most were from mountain areas, but a few were from the areas around Safford,” said McCarthy. “At one time porcupines were causing a lot of damage to the forests in Arizona because they eat the bark off the trees. Now, we are trying to help find the reason for the decline in their numbers.”