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Estimating abundance of a recovering transboundary brown bear population with capture-recapture modelsuse asterix (*) to get italics
Cécile Vanpé, Blaise Piédallu, Pierre-Yves Quenette, Jérôme Sentilles, Guillaume Queney, Santiago Palazón, Ivan Afonso Jordana, Ramón Jato, Miguel Mari Elósegui Irurtia, Jordi Solà de la Torre, Olivier GimenezPlease use the format "First name initials family name" as in "Marie S. Curie, Niels H. D. Bohr, Albert Einstein, John R. R. Tolkien, Donna T. Strickland"
<p>Estimating the size of small populations of large mammals can be achieved via censuses, or complete counts, of recognizable individuals detected over a time period: minimum detected (population) size (MDS). However, as a population grows larger and its spatial distribution expands, the risk of under-estimating population size using MDS rapidly increases because the assumption of perfect detection of all individuals in the population is violated. The need to report uncertainty around population size estimates consequently becomes crucial. We explored these biases using the monitoring framework of the critically endangered Pyrenean brown bear that was close to extinction in the mid-1990s, with only five individuals remaining, but was subsequently bolstered by the introduction of 11 bears from Slovenia. Each year since 1996, the abundance of the population has been assessed using MDS and minimum retained (population) size (MRS), which corresponded to a reassessment of the MDS in the light of the new information collected in subsequent years (e.g., adding bears which were not detected the previous years but detected the current year). We used Pollock’s closed robust design (PCRD) capture-recapture models applied to the cross-border non-invasive sampling data from France, Spain and Andorra to provide the first published annual abundance and temporal trend estimates of the Pyrenean brown bear population since 2008. Annual population size increased fivefold between 2008 and 2020, going from 13 to 66 individuals. PCRD estimates were globally close to MRS counts and had reasonably narrow associated 95% Credibility Intervals. Even in cases where sampling effort is large compared to population size, the PCRD estimates of population size can diverge from the MDS counts. We report individual heterogeneity in detection that might stem from intraspecific home range size variation that result in individuals that move the most being most likely to be detected. We also found that cubs had a higher mortality rate than adults and subadults, because of infanticide by males, predation, maternal death, or abandonment. Overall, the PCRD capture-recapture modelling approach provides estimates of abundance and demographic rates of the Pyrenean brown bear population, together with associated uncertainty, while minimizing bias due to inter-individual heterogeneity in detection probabilities. We strongly encourage wildlife ecologists and managers to use robust approaches when researching large mammal populations. Such information is vital for informing management decision-making and assessing population conservation status.</p> should fill this box only if you chose 'All or part of the results presented in this preprint are based on data'. URL must start with http:// or https:// should fill this box only if you chose 'Scripts were used to obtain or analyze the results'. URL must start with http:// or https:// should fill this box only if you chose 'Codes have been used in this study'. URL must start with http:// or https://
abundance estimation, capture-recapture models, non-invasive monitoring, Pyrenees, Ursus arctos
NonePlease indicate the methods that may require specialised expertise during the peer review process (use a comma to separate various required expertises).
Conservation biology, Demography, Population ecology
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2022-01-20 10:49:59
Nicolas BECH