A group of griffon vultures in Kresna Gorge was studied for its visit on the feeding station next to Rakitna Village after being reintroduced in the area. A camera trap method was used for a better understanding of the breeding behaviour of the griffon vulture, including the intra- and inter-species relations. A statistically significant difference was found between the independent feeding events during the pre-incubation and incubation periods of vultures. The duration of those events also differs, the ones in the second period being longer. Furthermore, a statistically significant difference was observed between the number of vultures per photo for the two sample periods, as a result of a different number of unmarked wild birds and different activity patterns of the nesting pairs. In spite of the fact that the terrestrial predators are also active during the night, their daytime presence leads to a high enough overlap between the two ecological groups, showing that the carnivores are a disturbance factor for the scavengers. The raven is the most abundant species at the feeding site and thus is a food competitor to the griffon vulture. The two species have adapted their behaviour to use the feeding station more successfully during the different biological periods. A significant decrease in the activity overlap between the individuals of the successfully nesting pairs was observed on the feeding station after the beginning of the incubation period. On the other hand, the activity overlap of the unsuccessfully nesting pairs increased in the second sample period. Camera traps can be used in further studies of the mating ecology for individual breeding pairs, when a direct observation on the nest is hard or impossible. This can be a cheap alternative of the time-consuming field observations.
Inventorying mammal assemblages is vital for their conservation and management, especially when they include rare or endangered species. However, obtaining a correct estimation of the species diversity in a particular area can be challenging due to uncertainties regarding study design and duration. In this paper, we present the biodiversity estimates derived from three unrelated camera trap studies in Osogovo Mt., Bulgaria. They have different duration and positioning schemes of the camera trap locations: Study 1 – grid based, 34 days; Study 2 – random points based, 138 days; Study 3 – locations based on expert opinion, 1437 days. Utilising EstimateS, we compare a number of estimators (Shannon diversity index, Coleman rarefaction curve, ACE (Abundance-based Coverage Estimator), ICE (Incidence-based Coverage Estimator), Chao 1, Chao 2 and Jackknife estimators) to the number of present and confirmed and/or potentially present mammals (excluding bats) in the mountains. A total of 17 mammal species were registered in the three studies, which represents around 76% of the permanently present mammals in the mountain that inhabit its forested area and can be detected by a camera trap. The results point to some guidelines that can aid future camera trap research in temperate forested areas. A grid-based design works best for very short study periods (e.g. 10 days), while the opportunistic expert-based positioning scheme provides good results for longer studies (approx. a month). However, the grid-based design needs to be further tested for longer periods. Generally, the random points approach does not yield satisfactory results. In agreement with other studies, analysis based on the Jackknife procedure (Jack 2) appears to result in the best estimate of species richness. When performing camera trap studies, special care should be taken to minimise the number of unidentifiable photos and to take into account «trap-shy» individuals. The results from this study emphasise the need for careful preliminary planning of camera trap studies depending on aims, duration and target species.
In Central Africa, Gabon is a forested country with a rich biodiversity where conflict between wild animals and humans is common and causes innumerable damage to crops. The worst crop raiders are elephants, which can destroy an entire crop in a single night. These raids threaten people's livelihoods as well as elephants because angry farmers often retaliate with killing campaigns against crop raiding elephants. To keep elephants out of farms the use of chilli pepper is recommended as a non-lethal method. But only a few studies have tested methods to use chilli pepper to deter elephants in Gabon. Results from this study give a starting point for understanding how forest elephants react to devices using chilli pepper as a deterrent based on sequential camera trap photos. A chilli pepper device that resulted in splashing concentrate on the elephant face proved to be the most effective at deterring elephants. Surprisingly, chilli pepper concentrate directly applied to mango fruits did not deter elephants from eating the fruits, although it probably caused some discomfort. To make effective deterrent devices with chilli pepper future works need to focus on exploring practices to reach the elephant face with the least, safe quantity of chilli pepper and which will have enough strong deterrent effect.
Research on ecological impacts of roads has seldom been studied on Borneo. This includes information on their influence on wildlife dynamic in National Parks and other areas harbouring biodiversity. This knowledge is important to prescribe best management practices, by avoiding, minimising and compensating for adverse impacts such structures may have on individuals, populations and communities. In order to understand the effects of a paved road, located within a protected area (Kubah National Park, Sarawak, western Borneo), on the local mammal species, we set up an array of 20 camera traps using stratified sampling, along a spatial gradient of five distance categories from the road. This ranged from the edge of the road to the interior part of the forests, in the following manner: A) 0–5 m at the edge, B) 5–100 m, C) 100–200 m, D) 200–300 m, and E) 300–400 m. We explored the relationships between the distance to the road with mammalian species richness, and subsequently, for carnivores, ungulates, and Viverridae sp. (civets) and finally, attempted to estimate the density of these animal groups. Camera trap surveys accumulated 2161 camera days, which resulted in 1938 independent animal photos that consisted of19 species of wild mammals, six species of birds and one reptile species along the gradient. This study suggests that areas close to the road (0–5 m) are used significantly less than other areas (n = 8), while cameras located within the distance range from 5–100 m and 100–200 m detected the highest number of species (n = 18). The highest numbers of ungulates and members of the family Viverridae (civets) were recorded at 5–100 m, while the distance category 100–200 m recorded the most numbers of carnivores. Several species that could be tolerant to some level of disturbance, such as the leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), banded palm civet (Hemigalus derbyanus), long-tailed porcupine (Trichys fasciculata), and lesser mousedeer (Tragulus kanchil) showed preference at 5–100 m. This might be due to their general diet behaviour and abundance of food resources nearby the forest edge. The findings from this study need to be carefully interpreted as it is based on a small scale project, therefore may not provide information required to quantify and mitigate the negative effects of roads in protected areas. Comprehensive long-term monitoring with appropriate replications, will be required for making appropriate management recommendations for enhancing conservation within the protected areas of Sarawak.
The European badger's (Meles meles) daily activity was studied in two regions of European Russia with camera traps. The results of the study show that the daily activity of the European badger on settlements does not differ in the compared populations inhabiting Darwin Reserve and Meschera National Park. The badger appears on surface often during the daylight contrary to the classical idea of nocturnal activity of the species. More than half of all animal registrations occur at daylight during the summer. The moderate climate of the study areas and low level of human persecution are considered among the possible reasons of this type of activity. The daily activity of the European badger undergoes markedly seasonal changes in both populations. Badgers more often came out from their setts during daylight in summer and at night in autumn. The results have practical application in the organisation of the census of badgers by means of camera traps.
Although known globally for its biodiversity, only around 5% of the Brazilian Pantanal is protected. The Network for Protection and Conservation of Amolar Mountain Ridge is an informal initiative that legally protects over 2000 km2 of the Pantanal biome. Several camera-trapping surveys were carried out at Amolar Mountain Ridge from August 2011 to September 2013 in order to increase our knowledge of the species occurrence and its ecological requirements. The aims of this study were : 1) to inventory the carnivore species occurring within this network of protected areas; 2) to describe their activity patterns and 3) to discuss threats for those species' conservation in the region. We used the Kernel density method to describe the species' activity patterns. We obtained 764 records (from 12703 camera-days) of eight carnivores, including endangered species in Brazil, such as the jaguar (Panthera onca), puma (Puma concolor), and ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), that were among the most frequently recorded by camera traps. The other species detected were the South America coati (Nasua nasua), the tayra (Eira barbara), the crab-eating raccoon (Procyon cancrivorus) and the jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi). We provided information on activity patterns of the jaguar and puma, which exhibited cathemeral activity patterns, on the ocelot and crab-eating fox, which were mostly nocturnal, and on the Southern coati and jaguarundi, which were diurnal. Scansorial and species that occur naturally in low densities as the tayra and the crab-eating raccoon were difficult to be detected with the used camera trapping setting. However, due to the natural characteristics of the study area, camera trapping is among the most appropriate tools for providing data about carnivores and their prey. This information is essential to delineate conservation plans for Amolar Mountain Ridge.
Here are presented the results of the analysis of daily activity patterns obtained from the data of camera traps for five large mammals (elk Alces alces, wild boar Sus scrofa, brown bear Ursus arctos, grey wolf Canis lupus, Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx) and three medium ones (European badger Meles meles, raccoon dog Nyctereutes procyonoides, mountain hare Lepus timidus) for the territory of the Central Forest Nature Reserve, Valdai Upland, Russia. Data were collected in the period 2010–2017 and the trap effort was 30 158 camera days from 21 locations. Most of the mammals surveyed showed activity at night and twilight hours (71% of the pictures). The hare was most active among all and dominant at night. In many respects it is similar to the activity of a raccoon dog, which type can be defined as nocturnal too. Unlike a hare, a raccoon dog has a weak peak in the daytime and less activity in the night. Badgers movements are confined to the twilight and nighttime. The share of nocturnal activity of large ungulates such as elk and wild boar was approximately the same and amounted to about 45% of all registrations. The wild boar is slightly more active during the day and in the evening and is not active at all in the morning. The elk is active in the morning, and in the daytime and to a lesser extent in the evening. The lynx and the bear have similar cathemeral activity patterns: almost half of all their meetings occurred at daylight hours and only slightly – less than 40% – at night. The brown bear had the maximum number of registrations in the daytime among all the studied species. Despite the fact that the main object of lynx feeding in the reserve is the hare, there was no high degree of overlap between them (γˆ = 0.75). In the group of large carnivores, the wolf was noticeably distinguished, more than half of its registrations were at night, and a third – on daytime. Daily activities of the wolf and its main prey elk showed a large overlap (γˆ = 0.89). The seasonal variations of daily activity of all species were also shown. According to the results of factor analysis, each of the studied species was divided into one of three separate groups. The first group included species with a tendency to nocturnal activity (wolf, elk, hare, badger, and raccoon dog), the second group – cathemeral animals (bear and lynx). In the third group was only the wild boar, whose activity was associated with the evening hours. This is the first long-term continuous camera trap survey in Russia and it provides detailed daily activity patterns for multiple large and medium-sized sympatric mammals.
Bees and elephant interactions are the core of a conservation curiosity since it has been demonstrated that bees, one of the smallest domesticated animals, can keep away elephants, the largest terrestrial animals. Yet, insects' parasites can impact the fitness and activity of the bees. Since their activity is critical to the repellent ability against elephants, this study assessed the impact of small hive beetles (Aethina tumida) on bee (Apis mellifera adansonii) reproduction and ability to keep forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) away. Because interspecies interactions are not easy to investigate, we have used camera traps and digital video to observe the activity of bees and their interactions with wild forest elephants under varying conditions of hive infestation with the small hive beetle, a common bee pest. Our results show that queen cells are good visual indicators of colony efficiency on keeping away forest elephants. We give evidences that small hive beetles are equivalently present in large and small bee colonies. Yet, results show no worries about the use of bees as elephant deterrents because of parasitism due to small hive beetles. Apis mellifera adansonii bees seem to effectively cope with small hive beetles showing no significant influence on its reproduction and ability to keep elephants away. This study also reports for the first time the presence of Aethina tumida as a constant beekeeping pest that needs to be addressed in Gabon.
The study was conducted in the southern part of the «Russky Sever» National Park during 2016–2017 as a part of the research on the life history and demography of songbirds breeding in abandoned fields. The nest fate was established by using motion-sensing trail cameras. Among 87 controlled nests, 36 were depredated and revealed at least seven predator species. Almost all predators were mainly attracted by nests with nestlings. But not all predation events led to fully depredated nests. Our data suggest that the local populations of ground-nesting passerines in national park «Russky Sever» are under the influence of several groups of nest predators.
We report the first case of a super-large brown bear (Ursus arctos) litter surviving until the second year of life. In the Land of the Leopard National Park, using camera traps, we recorded a female with five cubs two times – in March and in December 2017. Litters with more than four cubs are extremely rare for brown bears, and are known for newborn cubs only. We report the first documented evidence of a five-cub litter, which are very close to surviving through the first two years of their life while bear cub mortality is extremely high.