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Evaluating the use of thermal imaging cameras to monitor the endangered greater bilby at Astrebla Downs National Park

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Augusteyn, J., Pople, A. R. and Rich, M. (2020) Evaluating the use of thermal imaging cameras to monitor the endangered greater bilby at Astrebla Downs National Park. Australian Mammalogy, 42 (3). pp. 329-340.

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1071/AM19040

Publisher URL: https://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/AM19040


Spotlight surveys are widely used to monitor arid-zone-dwelling species such as the greater bilby (Macrotis lagotis). These surveys require a sufficient sample size to adequately model detection probability. Adequate sample sizes can be difficult to obtain for low-density populations and for species that avoid light and or have poor eyeshine like the bilby. Abundance estimates based on burrow counts can be problematic because of the variable relationship between the number of burrows used and bilby abundance. In 2013, feral predators devastated a Queensland bilby population and a method was required that could locate and monitor the remaining bilbies. We report on a study that compared density estimates derived from spotlighting and thermal cameras. Bilbies were surveyed annually over three years, using spotlights and thermal cameras on different nights but using the same transects to compare the methods. On average, thermal cameras detected twice the number of bilbies per kilometre surveyed than spotlighting. Despite this difference in the number of bilbies detected, density estimates (bilbies km−2) were similar (thermal camera versus spotlight: 0.6 versus 0.2 (2014), 3.4 versus 3.4 (2015) and 4.8 versus 3.3 (2016)). Nevertheless, the larger sample size obtained using thermal cameras gave greater confidence in modelling detection probability.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Keywords:line transect, multiple-covariates distance sampling, threatened species
Subjects:Science > Statistics > Statistical data analysis
Science > Zoology > Chordates. Vertebrates > Mammals > Marsupialia. Marsupials
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agriculture and the environment
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural conservation
Technology > Technology (General)
Live Archive:07 Sep 2020 22:37
Last Modified:27 Sep 2023 01:21

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