Targeting burrows improves detection in giant pangolin Smutsia gigantea camera trap surveys
AffiliationUniversity of Chester; North of England Zoological Society; Chester Zoo
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AbstractThe Endangered giant pangolin (Smutsia gigantea) is rare and elusive across its central African range. Due to its solitary and nocturnal nature, the species is difficult to study and subsequently its ecology is poorly known. Pangolins are considered the World’s most-trafficked mammals. Therefore, accurately confirming presence and monitoring trends in distribution and abundance is essential to inform and prioritise conservation efforts. Camera traps are a popular tool for surveying rare and cryptic species. However non-targeted camera trap surveys yield low camera trapping rates for pangolins. Here we use camera trap data from surveys conducted within three protected areas in Uganda to test whether targeted placement of cameras improves giant pangolin detection probability in occupancy models. The results indicate that giant pangolin detection probability is highest when camera traps are targeted on burrows. The median number of days from camera deployment to first giant pangolin event was 12, with 97.5% of events captured within 32 days from deployment. The median interval between giant pangolin events at a camera trap site was 33 days. We demonstrate that camera trap surveys can be designed to improve detection of giant pangolins and outline a set of recommendations to maximise the effectiveness of efforts to survey and monitor the species.
CitationMatthews, N., Nixon, S., von Hardenberg, A., Isoke, S., & Geary, M. (2022 - in press). Targeting burrows improves detection in giant pangolin Smutsia gigantea camera trap surveys. Oryx, vol(issue)pp. doi:
PublisherCambridge University Press
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- Creative Commons