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oa African Journal of Wildlife Research - On the right track? Comparing concurrent spoor and camera-trap surveys in Botswana

Volume 47 Number 2
  • ISSN : 2410-7220
  • E-ISSN: 2410-8200

 

Abstract

A diverse range of techniques have been used to survey mammals. Spoor counts and camera trapping are increasingly common survey tools used to detect the presence of species of interest in an area (occupancy). Given the significant time and financial investments in such surveys, and the management decisions based on their conclusions, it is imperative that confidence can be assigned to the results. It is therefore important to increase our understanding of the accuracy and constraints of each technique to allow managers and researchers to select the most suitable method for each situation. Here we compare results collected simultaneously using spoor and camera-trap surveys at a human–wildlife interface in northern Botswana. While our spoor survey and camera-trap surveys detected a similar number of mammal species (17 and 15, respectively), the species detected by each method differed. Of the 21 species detected overall, only about half (52.4%) were detected by both methods, and these co-detected species had significantly higher occupancy estimates than those species detected by only one method. Moreover, the direct comparison showed that some tracks were missed or misidentified by the spoor survey. Our results suggest that over short time frames, neither method is ideal for detecting species at low densities, and that researchers should consider combining multiple methods in such circumstances.

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/content/journal/10520/EJC-a779bcd14
2017-10-01
2018-12-15

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