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Data from: Effectiveness of signs of activity as relative abundance indices for wild boar

Citation

Higashide, Daishi et al. (2021), Data from: Effectiveness of signs of activity as relative abundance indices for wild boar, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5hqbzkh6h

Abstract

Population growth in wild boars and feral pigs (Sus scrofa) has negative environmental and economic implications worldwide. Accordingly, it is necessary to monitor population trends for appropriate management. Despite the potential for bias, relative abundance indices based on signs of activity have the potential to be practical, low-cost monitoring tools for data collection at a local scale and over large areas. However, few studies have examined the effectiveness of specific signs as measures of relative wild boar abundance in comparison with reliable density estimates. In this study, we examined whether three activity signs (digging marks, rubbing marks, and fecal pellet groups) could be used as relative abundance indices for wild boar. In particular, we conducted transect surveys for signs of activity as well as camera trap surveys from September 2017 to January 2018 at six sites in Hyogo Prefecture and eight sites in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. We modeled the relations between the number of activity signs and wild boar densities or abundances estimated from camera trap data in a hierarchical framework. Fecal pellet counts are a well-established method for estimating the abundance of herbivores, including wild boar; however, we found few fecal pellet groups in our study area, and the counts were not related to wild boar densities. Instead, we found that digging marks were strongly associated with estimates of wild boar density. Although fluctuations in the number of digging marks may be affected by factors other than boar density, including environmental conditions and seasonality, our results suggest that digging marks are an effective relative abundance index for evaluations of the spatial patterns of wild boar in Japan.

Funding

Environmental Restoration and Conservation Agency, Award: JPMEERF20174004

Environmental Restoration and Conservation Agency, Award: JPMEERF20204G01