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Time-stamps provide valuable information to study tigers, say scientists
| May 23, 2017
Dr. Ullas Karanth
Phone: 080-2211 8976
For the first time, scientists incorporate time of photo-capture to estimate abundance and spatial distribution of tigers
Traditionally time-data is discarded during analysis despite availability of the information in camera-trap data
New methodology of analysis represents data closer to reality that provides a chance to learn more about the behaviour and movement of tigers
BENGALURU 22 May 2017 – 70 percent of wild tigers are concentrated in less than 6 percent of remaining habitats worldwide. Science-based management is critical for tiger conservation. Spatial capture-recapture (SCR) model analysis is often used to estimate tiger abundance. However, scientists Dr. Robert Dorazio and Dr. Ullas Karanth find that the methodology makes inefficient use of potentially important information in the data - this is despite availability of the information when using camera-traps.
Dates and times of animal detections are fundamental considerations to designing and implementing a conservation strategy.
A new study led by Dr. Robert Dorazio of the United States Geological Survey, and co-authored by Wildlife Conservation Society Director for Science in Asia Dr. Ullas Karanth exploits all information provided by the SCR data obtained using continuous-time recorders i.e. camera-traps.
The scientists illustrated this continuous-time SCR model by analysing spatial and temporal patterns evident in the camera-trap detections of tigers living in and around Nagarahole Tiger Reserve in Karnataka.
They have developed a model to estimate the spatial distribution and abundance of animals making full use of location of photo-capture data and time of photo-capture data – which is a significant advance from traditional SCR analysis which uses only location of photo-capture data. This new method represents data closer to reality.
Dr. Robert Dorazio says, “Modeling photo-capture times of tigers and other large carnivores uses all of the information in the data and gives us a chance to learn more about the behaviors and movements of these animals— information that is crucial to their conservation.”
A short video features Dr. Ullas Karanth discussing how this study might change that thinking and benefit scientists.
Says Dr. Karanth: “We are now able to exactly incorporate the time of capture into the data analysis. This gives us more power to mimic nature in the sense of how tigers actually get ‘trapped’ in cameras, and how their movement, behavior, and space-use relate to time. This is a significant advance.”
The study by Dr. Dorazio and Dr. Karanth “A hierarchical model for estimating the spatial distribution and abundance of animals detected by continuous-time recorders” was published in the current issue of the international journal PLOS ONE. The full paper is accessible here.
This research was supported by the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, the Government of India, and the USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center—Gainesville, Florida.
Wildlife Conservation Society India Program.
WCS India Program, based in Bengaluru, has combined cutting-edge research on tigers and other wildlife, with national capacity building and, effective site-based conservation through constructive collaborations with governmental and non-governmental partners. WCS India Program is committed to saving wildlife and wild lands, nurturing and inspiring positive attitudes towards nature in people through its scientific and conservation endeavors.
Visit: wcsindia.org Follow: @WCSIndia, @wcs.ind