On the right track? Comparing concurrent spoor and camera-traps surveys in Botswana

Full citation: 
Torrents Ticó, M., Rich, L., McNutt, J.W., Nnthomiwa, M., Mothala, M., Motsamai, G. & Jordan, N.R. (2017). On the right track? Comparing concurrent spoor and camera-traps surveys in Botswana. African Journal of Wildlife Research 47(2):128-137; DOI: https://doi.org/10.3957/056.047.0128
Author/s associated with the CES: 
Neil Jordan

Spoor (track) counts and camera trapping are increasingly common survey tools used to detect the presence of species of interest in an area (occupancy). Given the significant time and financial investments in such surveys, and the management decisions based on their conclusions, it is imperative that confidence can be assigned to the results. We compared results collected simultaneously using spoor and camera-trap surveys at a human—wildlife interface in northern Botswana. While our spoor survey and camera-trap surveys detected a similar number of mammal species (17 and 15, respectively), the species detected by each method differed. Of the 21 species detected overall, only about half (52.4%) were detected by both methods, and these co-detected species had significantly higher occupancy estimates than those species detected by only one method. Moreover, the direct comparison showed that some tracks were missed or misidentified by the spoor survey. Our results suggest that over short time frames, neither method is ideal for detecting species at low densities, and that researchers should consider combining multiple methods in such circumstances.

Go to top