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Josephine S. Head, Christophe Boesch, Martha M. Robbins, Luisa I. Rabanal, Loïc Makaga and Hjalmar S. Kühl Effective sociodemographic population assessment of elusive species in ecology and conservation management Ecology and Evolution 3

Version of Record online: 30 JUL 2013 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.670

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Conservation managers are urgently searching for improved methods to evaluate the effectiveness of implemented conservation activities, and in this study we demonstrate the potential and effectiveness of combining remote video trapping, spatially explicit capture–recapture (SECR) techniques and other methods to facilitate comprehensive population assessment of elusive species. We applied this approach to chimpanzees Pan troglodytes troglodytes, gorillas Gorilla gorilla gorilla, and forest elephants Loxodonta cyclotis in Loango National Park, Gabon, and estimated a density of 1.72, 1.2, and 1.37 individuals per km2, respectively. In addition, we were able to infer group size and ranging patterns of the three species, and investigate intersexual variation in home range size, highlighting the potential and effectiveness of this approach in conducting detailed population assessments that go far beyond documenting species diversity patterns or estimating single species population size.

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