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Original Author (Copyright Owner): ILIYASU SIMON

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  • Name: CAMPUS CRITTERS: USING CAMERA TRAPS TO DETERMINE THE PRESENCE AND DISTRIBUTION OF WILDLIFE ON A NIGERIAN UNIVERSITY CAMPUS 
  • Type: PDF and MS Word (DOC)
  • Size: [2.21 MB]
  • Length: [54] Pages

 

ABSTRACT

Widely used to study wildlife, camera trapping involves automated devices that record pictures or videos using infrared sensors that detect motion. Camera trapping has greatly improved scientific investigation as it can gather data on rare, cryptic, or nocturnal species. On the American University of Nigeria campus in Adamawa State, northeastern Nigeria, I used camera trapping to determine the presence and distribution of wildlife species and the habitat use of two nocturnal mammals, white-tailed mongoose (Ichneumia albicauda) and giant-pouched rat (Cricetomys gambianus). I surveyed 29 sampling points for three trap nights, resulting in a total of 87 trap nights. Using occupancy modeling, I evaluated the influence of covariates on presence and habitat use of these two mammals. Results indicated that the presence of nature areas and domestic goats positively influenced the presence and habitat use of white-tailed mongoose. These factors were also important for the giant pouched rat, whose habitat use was positively associated with nature areas, but negatively associated with the presence of goats. These results indicate that white-tailed mongoose and giant pouched rat prefer less disturbed habitats on campus. The adaptable mongoose, though, appears to also tolerate more disturbed areas and may even be excluded from areas where other mongoose species occur (in this study, banded mongoose). The pouched rat appears to avoid disturbed environments. My findings may be affected by the short survey period and limited number of cameras. I recommend the university enhance natural vegetation and increase awareness about the ecological importance of having such wildlife on campus.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CERTIFICATION…………………………………………………………………….ii
READERS’ APPROVAL………………………………………………………………iii
DEDICATION………………………………………………………………………….iv
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS……………………………………………………………..v
ABSTRACT……………………………………………………………………………..vi
LIST OF TABLES……………………………………………………………………x
LIST OF FIGURES…………………………………………………………………….xi
CHAPTER 1………………………………………………………………………….1
INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………………..1
Presence………………………………………………………………………6
Distribution……………………………………………………………………….8
Occupancy……………………………………………………………………9
Habitat use…………………………………………………………………..10
Abundance/Density…………………………………………………………..11
Key advantages………………………………………………………………12
Non-lethal method…………………………………………………….12
Data documentation………………………………………………….13
Disadvantages………………………………………………………………..13
Device malfunction……………………………………………………14
Cost…………………………………………………………….……14
Other restrictions..……………………………………………….……..15
American University of Nigeria………..………………………..………….…………15
ix
AIMS & OBJECTIVES…………..……………………………….………………….17
CHAPTER 2…………………………………………………………………………18
MATERIALS & METHODS………………………………………………..18
Study site……………………………………………………………………….18
GPS units..…….……………………………………………………………..19
Sampling……………………………………………………………………20
Modeling……………………………………………………………………..22
CHAPTER 3…………………………………………………………………………24
RESULTS……………………………………………………………………24
White-tailed mongoose………………………………………………………26
Giant pouched rat……………………………………………………………27
CHAPTER 4………………………………………………………………………….29
DISCUSSION………………………………………………………….……29
White-tailed mongoose…………………………………………………………………………29
Giant pouched rat…………………………………………………..……….31
Limitation…………………………………………………………………….32
Recommendation……………………………………………………………..33
CHAPTER 5………………………………………………………………………….35
CONCLUSION………………………………………………………………35
APPENDIX I…………………………………………………..…………….36
History of photography in wildlife studies…………………………………..36
REFERENCES……………………………………………………………….………38

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION
There have been challenges for wildlife ecologists and managers to develop reliable methods that can be used to assess and gain a better understanding of wildlife (Caughley, 1977). A wide variety of methods and analytical approaches have been developed. The advent of camera-trap technology has greatly improved ecologists’ and managers’ ability to study and monitor wildlife within natural habitats (O’Connell, Nichols, & Karanth, 2011). A camera trap is an automated device that takes pictures or videos using infrared sensors that detect motion. As a result of technological advancements, camera-trap devices are now more cost effective. They provide a non-invasive way to study wildlife. Camera traps also can take High Definition (HD) photographs (Kucera & Barrett, 2011). In addition, camera trapping has improved wildlife studies mostly in terms of assessing and understanding elusive wildlife (Kucera & Barrett, 2011).
In recent years, camera trapping has become a tool to study wildlife with little or no human disturbance (Rovero, Martin, Rosa, Ahumada, & Spitale, 2014). Camera trapping is used for different purposes, such as monitoring and documenting the occurrence of animal species. In addition, the results obtained from a camera-trap study can also be used for designing statistical models for assessing and investigating the animal population’s characteristics, such as abundance, presence, and distribution in a particular area (Karanth, Nichols, Kumar, & Hines, 2006; Karanth & Nichols, 1998). Camera trapping is often used to collect data on species that are difficult to study or detect. In recent years, camera trapping has provided profound results in understanding population characteristics and ecological relationships of animals,
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ranging from common animal species (e.g. raccoons) to rare, elusive, and enigmatic animal species (e.g. African golden cats) (O’Connell)

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