Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Resource Conservation (International Conservation and Development)

Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Christopher Servheen

Commitee Members

Craig Rudolph, Steve Siebert


Epicrates subflavus, Jamaica, Jamaican Boa


University of Montana


The endemic Jamaican boa, Epicrates subflavus, was once common throughout Jamaica. This vulnerable species is now fragmented into small populations throughout the island due to habitat loss, introduced species, human persecution and poaching. Conservation of the boa requires knowledge of the basic ecology of the boa and education of local people. Jamaican boas were studied in the community of Windsor in Jamaica’s Cockpit Country. Radio telemetry was used to examine the movements, activity ranges, and habitat use of twelve boas. In addition, an outreach program was undertaken to combat human persecution and poaching. Male Jamaican boas moved greater distances per day than females. Home ranges varied in size from 2.24 – 14.03ha for 95% MCPs for all boas with male home ranges and core activity areas being larger than those of females. Vine and epiphyte coverage of trees and tree DBH are key features of boa habitats. Vines and epiphytes provide resting places, camouflage, and travel routes for boas. Conservation of the Jamaican boa must include an extensive education and outreach program to dispel myths about the boa and increase local peoples’ knowledge of and attitudes towards snakes. Initial education and outreach programs improved students’ knowledge of boas. A more extensive program was designed that aims to increase knowledge as well as improve attitudes about snakes in all sectors of Jamaican society. Jamaican boa conservation will require an integrated approach of research and education in order to target the variety sources threatening boas.



© Copyright 2010 Erika Elise Miersma