Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Estimating carnivore community structures.

Abstract

Obtaining reliable estimates of the structure of carnivore communities is of paramount importance because of their ecological roles, ecosystem services and impact on biodiversity conservation, but they are still scarce. This information is key for carnivore management: to build support for and acceptance of management decisions and policies it is crucial that those decisions are based on robust and high quality information. Here, we combined camera and live-trapping surveys, as well as telemetry data, with spatially-explicit Bayesian models to show the usefulness of an integrated multi-method and multi-model approach to monitor carnivore community structures. Our methods account for imperfect detection and effectively deal with species with non-recognizable individuals. In our Mediterranean study system, the terrestrial carnivore community was dominated by red foxes (0.410 individuals/km2); Egyptian mongooses, feral cats and stone martens were similarly abundant (0.252, 0.249 and 0.240 individuals/km2, respectively), whereas badgers and common genets were the least common (0.130 and 0.087 individuals/km2, respectively). The precision of density estimates improved by incorporating multiple covariates, device operation, and accounting for the removal of individuals. The approach presented here has substantial implications for decision-making since it allows, for instance, the evaluation, in a standard and comparable way, of community responses to interventions.