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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Using heterogeneous camera-trapping sites to obtain the first density estimates for the transboundary Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) population in the Dinaric Mountains

Flezar, Ursa; Aronsson, Malin; Cerne, Rok; Piculin, Ales; Bartol, Matej; Stergar, Matija; Rot, Andrej; Hocevar, Lan; Toplicanec, Ira; Sindicic, Magda; Gomercic, Tomislav; Slijepcevic, Vedran; Krofel, Miha


Estimating abundance of wild animal populations is crucial for their management and conservation. While spatial capture-recapture models are becoming increasingly common to assess the densities of elusive species, recent studies have indicated potential bias that can be introduced by unaccounted spatial variation of detectability. We used camera-trapping data collected in collaboration with local hunters from a transnational population survey of the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in Slovenia and Croatia, to provide the first density estimate for the threatened Eurasian lynx population in the Northern Dinaric Mountains. Population density was 0.83 (95% CI: 0.60-1.16) lynx/100 km(2), which is comparable to other reintroduced Eurasian lynx populations in Europe. Furthermore, we showed that baseline detection rate was influenced by the type of site used, as well as by sex of the individual and local behavioural response. Scent-marking sites had on average a 1.6- and 2.5-times higher baseline detection rate compared to roads and other locations, respectively. Scent-marking behaviour is common for several mammals, and selecting sites that attracts the targeted species is used to increase detection rates, especially for rare and cryptic species. But we show that the use of different location types for camera trapping can bias density estimates if not homogenously distributed across the surveyed area. This highlights the importance of incorporating not only individual characteristics (e.g., sex), but also information on the type of site used in camera trapping surveys into estimates of population densities.


Transnational population monitoring; Scent marking; Roads; Spatial variation of detectability; Sex-structured dataset; Spatial capture-recapture

Published in

Biodiversity and Conservation
2023, Volume: 32, number: 10, pages: 3199–3216
Publisher: SPRINGER

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