Data from: Evaluating noninvasive genetic sampling techniques to estimate large carnivore abundance
Mumma, Matthew A. et al. (2015), Data from: Evaluating noninvasive genetic sampling techniques to estimate large carnivore abundance, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.n90hg
Monitoring large carnivores is difficult because of intrinsically low densities and can be dangerous if physical capture is required. Noninvasive genetic sampling (NGS) is a safe and cost-effective alternative to physical capture. We evaluated the utility of two NGS methods (scat detection dogs and hair sampling) to obtain genetic samples for abundance estimation of coyotes, black bears and Canada lynx in three areas of Newfoundland, Canada. We calculated abundance estimates using program capwire, compared sampling costs, and the cost/sample for each method relative to species and study site, and performed simulations to determine the sampling intensity necessary to achieve abundance estimates with coefficients of variation (CV) of <10%. Scat sampling was effective for both coyotes and bears and hair snags effectively sampled bears in two of three study sites. Rub pads were ineffective in sampling coyotes and lynx. The precision of abundance estimates was dependent upon the number of captures/individual. Our simulations suggested that ~3.4 captures/individual will result in a < 10% CV for abundance estimates when populations are small (23–39), but fewer captures/individual may be sufficient for larger populations. We found scat sampling was more cost-effective for sampling multiple species, but suggest that hair sampling may be less expensive at study sites with limited road access for bears. Given the dependence of sampling scheme on species and study site, the optimal sampling scheme is likely to be study-specific warranting pilot studies in most circumstances.