Incorporating the sampling effectiveness of detection dogs in the faecal standing crop method

Abstract

Evaluating the population status of elusive and rare species is a challenge for wildlife managers and conservationists. A promising method that has been used is faecal pellet counting applied to the faecal standing crop (FSC) method. The FSC method estimates population density based on faecal pellets counted in a given area by using parameters such as defecation rate and faecal persistence, which vary according to the environment. The search for faeces has become more effective with the help of scat detection dogs, which have a better detection rate compared to humans. Therefore, we aimed to incorporate the sampling effectiveness of scat detection dogs as parameters in FSC methods. For this purpose, two experiments were conducted to evaluate the detectability of Mazama faeces related to their distance from a search transect and their age (time since deposition). Our results show that incorporating scat detection dog parameters can result in density estimates three times higher than those reached without incorporating the detection dog parameters in FSC methods.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

References

  1. Ahrestani FS, Kumar NS, Vaidyanathan S, Hiby L, Jathanna D, Karanth KU (2018) Estimating densities of large herbivores in tropical forests: rigorous evaluation of a dung-based method. Ecology and Evolution 8:7312–7322

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Alonso MCS. (2002) Analysis of fragmentation effect on deer population density in relation to quality habitat for large carnivores in the biosphere reserve of Calakmul, southeast Mexico. B.Sc. University of East London

  3. Barrera-Salazar A, Mandujano S, Espino-Barros OA, Jiménez-García D (2015) Classification of vegetation types in the habitat of white-tailed deer in a location of the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve, Mexico. Tropical Conservation Science 8:547–563

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Barrette C (1987) The comparative behaviour and ecology of chevrotains, musk deer and morphologically conservative deer. In: Wemmer CM (ed) Biology and management of Cervidae. Smithsonian Institute Press, Washington, pp 200–213

    Google Scholar 

  5. Beebe SC, Howell TJ, Bennett PC (2016) Using scent detection dogs in conservation settings: a review of scientific literature regarding their selection. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 3:96

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Chapman NG (2004) Faecal pellets of Reeves’ muntjac, Muntiacus reevesi: defecation rate, decomposition period, size and weight. Eur J Wildl Res 50:141–145

    Google Scholar 

  7. Duarte JM, Gonzalez S, Maldonado J (2008) The surprising evolutionary history of South American deer. Mol Phylogenet Evol 49:17–22

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Duarte JMB, Talarico ÂC, Vogliotti A, Garcia JE, Oliveira ML, Maldonado JE, González S (2017) Scat detection dogs, DNA and species distribution modelling reveal a diminutive geographical range for the vulnerable small red brocket deer Mazama bororo. Oryx 51:656–664

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Eberhardt L, Van Etten RC (1956) Evaluation of the pellet group count as a deer census method. J Wildl Manag 20:70–74

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Ferreguetti AC, Tomás WM, Bergallo HG (2015) Density, occupancy, and activity pattern of two sympatric deer (Mazama) in the Atlantic Forest, Brazil. J Mammal 96:1245–1254

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Fragoso JM, Levi T, Oliveira LF, Luzar JB, Overman H, Read JM, Silvius KM (2016) Line transect surveys underdetect terrestrial mammals: implications for the sustainability of subsistence hunting. PLoS One 11(4):e0152659

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. IUCN Standards and Petitions Committee. (2019) Guidelines for using the IUCN Red List categories and criteria. Version 14. Prepared by the Standards and Petitions Committee. Downloadable from http://www.iucnredlist.org/documents/RedListGuidelines.pdf

  13. Kamgaing TO, Bobo KS, Djekda D, Azobou KB, Hamadjida BR, Balangounde MY, Simo KJ, Yasuoka H (2018) Population density estimates of forest duikers (Philantomba monticola & Cephalophus spp.) differ greatly between survey methods. Afr J Ecol 56:908–916

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Kohn MH, Wayne RK (1997) Facts from feces revisited. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 12:223–227

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Luduvério DJ. (2018) O status taxonômico de Cervus rufus Illiger, 1811 e sua caracterização genética e morfológica. Dissertation, São Paulo State University

  16. Mayle B, Peace AJ, and Gill RM. (1999) How many deer? A field guide to estimating deer population size. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh

  17. Neff DJ (1968) The pellet-group count technique for big game trend, census, and distribution: a review. J Wildl Manag 32:597–614

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Oliveira ML. (2010) Análise molecular de amostras fecais de uma população de veado-mateiro (Mazama americana) para a obtenção de informações genéticas e ecológicas. Dissertation, University of Sao Paulo

  19. Oliveira ML. (2015) Distribuição e estimativa populacional do veado-mão-curta (Mazama nana) utilizando amostragem não invasiva. Thesis, University of Sao Paulo

  20. Oliveira ML, Duarte JM (2013) Amplifiability of mitochondrial, microsatellite and amelogenin DNA loci from fecal samples of red brocket deer Mazama americana (Cetartiodactyla, Cervidae). Genet Mol Res 12:44–52

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Oliveira ML, Norris D, Ramírez JF, Peres PH, Galetti M, Duarte JM (2012) Dogs can detect scat samples more efficiently than humans: an experiment in a continuous Atlantic Forest remnant. Zoologia 29:183–186

    Google Scholar 

  22. Oliveira ML, Couto HTZ, Duarte JMB (2019) Distribution of the elusive and threatened Brazilian dwarf brocket deer refined by non-invasive genetic sampling and distribution modelling. Eur J Wildl Res 65:21

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Oliveira ML, Peres PHF, Gatti A, Morales-Donoso JA, Mangini PR, Duarte JMB (2020) Faecal DNA and camera traps detect an evolutionarily significant unit of the Amazonian brocket deer in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Eur J Wildl Res 66(2):1–10

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Peres PH. (2015) Uso do espaço pelo veado-catingueiro (Mazama gouazoubira, Fisher, 1814): uma comparação entre colares GPS e DNA fecal. Dissertation, University of Sao Paulo

  25. Periago ME and Leynaud GC. (2009) Density estimates of Mazama gouazoubira (Cervidae) using the pellet count technique in the arid Chaco of Argentina. Ecol Austral 19:73–77

  26. Putman RJ (1984) Facts from faeces. Mammal Rev 14:79–97

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Ramos-Robles M, Gallina S, Mandujano S (2013) Habitat and human factors associated with white-tailed deer density in the tropical dry forest of Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve, Mexico. Tropical Conservation Science 6:70–86

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Rivero K, Rumiz DI, Taber AB (2004) Estimating brocket deer (Mazama gouazoubira and M. americana) abundance by dung pellet counts and other indices in seasonal Chiquitano forest habitats of Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Eur J Wildl Res 50:161–167

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Smith DA, Ralls K, Davenport B, Adams B, Maldonado JE (2001) Canine assistants for conservationists. Science 291:435

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Souza JN, Oliveira ML, Duarte JM (2013) A PCR/RFLP methodology to identify non-Amazonian Brazilian deer species. Conserv Genet Resour 5:639–641

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Viquerat SM, Bobo KS, Müller M, Kiffner C, Waltert M (2012) Estimating forest duiker (Cephalophinae) density in Korup National Park: a case study on the performance of three line transect methods. S Afr J Wildl Res 42:1–10

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Vogliotti A. (2003) História natural de Mazama bororo (Artiodactyla, Cervidae) através da etnozoologia, monitoramento fotográfico e radiotelemetria. Dissertation, University of Sao Paulo

  33. Vogliotti A. (2008) Partição de hábitats entre os cervídeos no Parque Nacional do Iguaçu. Thesis, University of Sao Paulo

Download references

Acknowledgements

We are in debt to two anonymous reviewers who reviewed our manuscript carefully and in-depth, considerably improving its quality.

Funding

This study was funded by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP) (2015/25742-5 and 2017/00331-8).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Márcio L. De Oliveira.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Da Silva, A.R., De Oliveira, M.L. & Duarte, J.M.B. Incorporating the sampling effectiveness of detection dogs in the faecal standing crop method. Eur J Wildl Res 66, 47 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-020-01388-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Deer
  • Elusive species
  • Faeces
  • Density estimates