Poster presentation 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Can we use camera traps to estimate density of quenda (Isoodon obesuus fusciventer)? (#623)

Georgia Ford 1 , Mike Bamford 2 , Charles Krebs 3 , Alice Kenney 3 , Roberta Bencini 1
  1. School of Biological Sciences, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia
  2. Bamford Consulting Ecologists, 23 Plover Way, Kingsley, WA, Australia
  3. University of Canberra, Bruce, ACT, Australia

The use of camera traps in wildlife research is growing but it is generally restricted to presence-absence information or population surveys for individually recognisable animals. Using cameras to estimate the population size of nondescript, unrecognisable species would greatly increase their use but few studies have tested camera traps as surrogates for traditional fauna surveys. Therefore, the extent to which we can rely on camera traps and the resulting indices of abundance to monitor nondescript animal populations is still largely unknown. Many small to medium sized mammals in Australia do not have unique markings, such as the quenda (Isoodon obesulus fusciventer), but camera traps are often used to provide population information for these species. We investigated the relationship between abundance indices derived from camera trapping and robust population (program Capture) and density estimates (program Density 5) derived from live trapping for this nondescript marsupial. We trapped quenda at six sites with differing densities and compared densities derived from the capture-mark-recapture method with abundance estimates derived from camera traps. Densities ranged from 0 to 1.81 animals ha-1, population estimates ranged from 0 to 71 and the number of hits per 1000 days ranged from 0 to 3842. The relationship between density and hit rate was not significant with R= 0.47. By contrast, the relationship between population estimates and hit rates was significant but had a R2 of 0.63 (P = 0.043). More work needs to be done to establish if camera traps could be used instead of live trapping to estimate population size and density for quenda.