In lieu of the poster session at our 2020 conference, we are profiling posters from this year’s conference on our website every few weeks. This week we’re focusing on using camera traps to estimate density of an African ungulate, the Sitatunga.
Poster authors: Megan Brownlee, Mark Boyce, Camille Warbington
Poster title: Estimating density of sitatunga (Tragelaphus spekii) using time in front of the camera (see a pdf of the poster here).
The sitatunga is a medium sized antelope in sub-Saharan Africa, which is typically difficult to study because of its preference for dense habitats. Megan’s research focused on using a Time in Front of Camera (TIFC) model to estimate sitatunga population density. She compared these results with estimates generated from traditional spatially explicit capture-recapture (SECR) estimates. Megan found that the two methodological approaches generated similar results, which is great for research that needs to accurately determine population density without meeting SECR assumptions and model requirements.
Sitatunga are of economic importance through trophy hunting, which has recently been legalized in Uganda. The money raised through trophy hunting can provide economic development and conservation funds. Sitatunga population densities should be regularly evaluated to determine sustainable hunting quotas and to prevent over-harvest. Megan hopes her research will increase public knowledge about this elusive species and that the TIFC model can be used for a multitude of species in a variety of ecosystems that may not qualify for traditional survey methods.
Megan recently completed her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta and is currently working as a research assistant with multiple ongoing ecology projects at the U of A. She looks forward for furthering her career researching wildlife ecology and conservation.