Camera trap technology in black backed jackal research

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Friday, 31st December 2021

Trialling a simple camera-trap based method to estimate
Black-backed jackal population density

Melville, H.I.A.S. and Strauss, W.M.

Indago, 2021

Globally damage causing animals, particularly mesopredators, are subjected to lethal control where they occur on small stock
farms. This situation prevails in South Africa in relation to Black-backed jackals. However, despite their ubiquity, no attempt
has been made to develop a repeatable, practical method to estimate Black-backed jackal population sizes. We estimated the
Black-backed jackal population density on Telperion Nature Reserve in Mpumalanga Province using a combination of camera
traps and established population estimation models (random encounter model (REM) and generalized random encounter model
(gREM)) that do not require the individual identification of animals. Furthermore, we attempted to estimate all metrics for
REM and gRem models exclusively from camera trap data and compared the estimates from these models, generated using
GPS collar velocity metrics, to those based on home range metrics. We found that density estimates based on camera trap data
combined with GPS velocity estimates returned the most plausible estimates of Black-backed jackal population. We suggest
that using the method trialled in this study may present a relatively simple and practical way to estimate Black-backed jackal
population density. The applicability of this method across a variety of landscapes should be trialled. If proved practicable, it
would allow for consistent monitoring of Black-backed jackal populations using a repeatable density estimation method and
may provide a basis for future management

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