Evaluation of Camera Trapping for Estimating Red Fox Abundance

Authors

  • PEDRO SARMENTO,

    Corresponding author
    1. Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e da Biodiversidade-Rua António Ribeiro Sanches s/n, 6090 Penamacor, Portugal
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  • JOANA CRUZ,

    1. Terra e Tudo, Consultoria e Gestão de Recursos Naturais, Unipessoal Lda. Quinta da Rebolosa, EM 566, 6090-000 Aranhas, Portugal
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  • CATARINA EIRA,

    1. Centro de Estudos do Ambiente e do Mar, and Departamento de Biologia da Universidade de Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193, Aveiro, Portugal
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  • CARLOS FONSECA

    1. Centro de Estudos do Ambiente e do Mar, and Departamento de Biologia da Universidade de Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193, Aveiro, Portugal
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sarmentop@gmail.com

Abstract

ABSTRACT  The nature reserve Serra da Malcata, Portugal, was recently considered a site for Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) reintroduction. Because of potential disease risk posed by red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in the area, a reliable estimate of fox abundance was critical for a dependable reintroduction program. We adapted camera-trapping techniques for estimating red fox abundance in the reserve. From July 2005 to August 2007, we conducted 7 camera-trapping sessions, allowing for individual identification of foxes by physical characteristics. We estimated abundance using the heterogeneity (Mh) model of the software program CAPTURE. Estimated density ranged from 0.91 ± 0.12 foxes/km2to 0.74 ± 0.02 foxes/km2. By estimating red fox density, it is possible to define the number of foxes that must be sampled to assess the presence of potential fox-transmitted diseases that may affect lynx reintroduction.

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