Comparing spatial capture–recapture modeling and nest count methods to estimate orangutan densities in the Wehea Forest, East Kalimantan, Indonesia

Comparing spatial capture–recapture modeling and nest count methods to estimate orangutan... Accurate information on the density and abundance of animal populations is essential for understanding species' ecology and for conservation planning, but is difficult to obtain. The endangered orangutan (Pongo spp.) is an example; due to its elusive behavior and low densities, researchers have relied on methods that convert nest counts to orangutan densities and require substantial effort for reliable results. Camera trapping and spatial capture–recapture (SCR) models could provide an alternative but have not been used for primates. We compared density estimates calculated using the two methods for orangutans in the Wehea Forest, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Camera trapping/SCR modeling produced a density estimate of 0.16±0.09–0.29 indiv/km2, and nest counts produced a density estimate of 1.05±0.18–6.01 indiv/km2. The large confidence interval of the nest count estimate is probably due to high variance in nest encounter rates, indicating the need for larger sample size and the substantial effort required to produce reliable results using this method. The SCR estimate produced a very low density estimate and had a narrower but still fairly wide confidence interval. This was likely due to unmodeled heterogeneity and small sample size, specifically a low number of individual captures and recaptures. We propose methodological fixes that could address these issues and improve precision. A comparison of the overall costs and benefits of the two methods suggests that camera trapping/SCR modeling can potentially be a useful tool for assessing the densities of orangutans and other elusive primates, and warrant further investigation to determine broad applicability and methodological adjustments needed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biological Conservation Elsevier

Comparing spatial capture–recapture modeling and nest count methods to estimate orangutan densities in the Wehea Forest, East Kalimantan, Indonesia

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V.
ISSN
0006-3207
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.biocon.2015.06.013
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Accurate information on the density and abundance of animal populations is essential for understanding species' ecology and for conservation planning, but is difficult to obtain. The endangered orangutan (Pongo spp.) is an example; due to its elusive behavior and low densities, researchers have relied on methods that convert nest counts to orangutan densities and require substantial effort for reliable results. Camera trapping and spatial capture–recapture (SCR) models could provide an alternative but have not been used for primates. We compared density estimates calculated using the two methods for orangutans in the Wehea Forest, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Camera trapping/SCR modeling produced a density estimate of 0.16±0.09–0.29 indiv/km2, and nest counts produced a density estimate of 1.05±0.18–6.01 indiv/km2. The large confidence interval of the nest count estimate is probably due to high variance in nest encounter rates, indicating the need for larger sample size and the substantial effort required to produce reliable results using this method. The SCR estimate produced a very low density estimate and had a narrower but still fairly wide confidence interval. This was likely due to unmodeled heterogeneity and small sample size, specifically a low number of individual captures and recaptures. We propose methodological fixes that could address these issues and improve precision. A comparison of the overall costs and benefits of the two methods suggests that camera trapping/SCR modeling can potentially be a useful tool for assessing the densities of orangutans and other elusive primates, and warrant further investigation to determine broad applicability and methodological adjustments needed.

Journal

Biological ConservationElsevier

Published: Nov 1, 2015

References

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