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Using by-catch camera trapping data for estimating the population size of spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta)

Citation

Tarugara, Allan; Clegg, Bruce (2022), Using by-catch camera trapping data for estimating the population size of spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.kwh70rz68

Abstract

Spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) are an important carnivore species whose dual role of scavenger and predator is vital to trophic energy flows of systems in which they are found. Where populations of spotted hyenas are small, the environment has few cleaners and carcasses can remain unprocessed. Despite being largely characterized as scavengers, spotted hyenas actively hunt and take down live prey and at high densities can have depressing effects on fragile or choice ungulate populations. In addition, they can alter the structure and composition dynamics of the carnivore guild through direct conflict or indirectly through competition for food and space. Despite their importance to ecosystem function and balance, reliable estimates of spotted hyena densities are rare. This is because unlike lions and leopards, spotted hyenas are generally not regarded as a charismatic species and, as such, survey resources, which are costly, are seldom solely allocated towards surveying them. Nonetheless, being able to confidently estimate spotted hyena numbers is important for the effective management of carnivore and herbivore populations whose dynamics they influence.

Methods

Photographic data were collected using baited camera traps and analysed using the capture-recapture software DENSITY.

Funding

The Malilangwe Trust, Chiredzi, Zimbabwe