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Experimental estimation of snare detectability for robust threat monitoring

O'Kelly, HJ; Rowcliffe, M; Durant, S; Milner-Gulland, EJ; (2018) Experimental estimation of snare detectability for robust threat monitoring. Ecology and Evolution , 8 (3) pp. 1778-1785. 10.1002/ece3.3655. Green open access

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Abstract

Hunting with wire snares is rife within many tropical forest systems, and constitutes one of the severest threats to a wide range of vertebrate taxa. As for all threats, reliable monitoring of snaring levels is critical for assessing the relative effectiveness of management interventions. However, snares pose a particular challenge in terms of tracking spatial or temporal trends in their prevalence because they are extremely difficult to detect, and are typically spread across large, inaccessible areas. As with cryptic animal targets, any approach used to monitor snaring levels must address the issue of imperfect detection, but no standard method exists to do so. We carried out a field experiment in Keo Seima Wildlife Reserve in eastern Cambodia with the following objectives: (1) To estimate the detection probably of wire snares within a tropical forest context, and to investigate how detectability might be affected by habitat type, snare type, or observer. (2) To trial two sets of sampling protocols feasible to implement in a range of challenging field conditions. (3) To conduct a preliminary assessment of two potential analytical approaches to dealing with the resulting snare encounter data. We found that although different observers had no discernible effect on detection probability, detectability did vary between habitat type and snare type. We contend that simple repeated counts carried out at multiple sites and analyzed using binomial mixture models could represent a practical yet robust solution to the problem of monitoring snaring levels both inside and outside of protected areas. This experiment represents an important first step in developing improved methods of threat monitoring, and such methods are greatly needed in southeast Asia, as well as in as many other regions.

Type: Article
Title: Experimental estimation of snare detectability for robust threat monitoring
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/ece3.3655
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3655
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: detectability, eastern Cambodia, field experiment, snares
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10028756
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