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University of Alberta (2019)

Tracking a better way to count wildlife : testing the Formozov-Malyshev-Pereleshin (FMP) formula in the Kalahari

Keeping, Derek

Titre : Tracking a better way to count wildlife : testing the Formozov-Malyshev-Pereleshin (FMP) formula in the Kalahari

Auteur : Keeping, Derek

Université de soutenance : University of Alberta

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy in Conservation Biology 2019

Résumé partiel
The science of conservation biology is about conserving species. To do so often requires information about population sizes. Great efforts have been devoted to counting animals, the diverse means by which are invariably taxa and environment-limited. Faced with a biodiversity crisis, conservationists have a pressing need for methods that are robust but also practical and cost-effective. Comprehensiveness, that is the ability to capture many species simultaneously, is also advantageous. Animals, defined by their mobility, are often hard to see, mammals in particular. They do however leave tracks which in some environments are conspicuous and ubiquitous whereas the animals themselves are not. It is self-evident that more animals leave more tracks, but there are a host of other factors difficult to diagnose and suspected to confound this simple relationship. As a result, the mainstream demotes tracks to indices of relative abundance instead of attempting inference on population sizes. Almost 90 years ago Russian biologists derived a parsimonious model explaining transect counts of animal tracks in relation to population density and movement rates. The Formozov-Malyshev-Pereleshin (FMP) formula is both contentious for its simplicity, and little-known to the English scientific literature. The goal of this thesis was to examine the FMP formula as a means of expanding the use of tracking in conservation science. The setting for my studies was the sandy semi-arid Kalahari, with optimal year-round tracking conditions, host to a diverse mammalian wildlife community, and wherein I collaborated with expert local !Xo hunters to obtain accurate track counts and animal movement data. I first subjected the FMP formula to tests using simulations with both virtual and empirical data.

Mots clés : Botswana random encounter model tracking spoor track survey population density estimation tracker wildlife citizen science abundance estimation Kalahari game count day range FMP formula

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Page publiée le 10 mai 2021