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Is Non-invasive Genetic Population Estimation via Faeces Sampling Feasible for Abundant Mammals with Low Defecation Rates? A Pilot Study on Free Ranging Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) in South West Germany

Author(s): EBERT, Cornelia | KOLODZIEJ, Karolina | SCHIKORA, Tim Frederic | SCHULZ, Holger K | HOHMANN, Ulf

Journal: Acta Silvatica & Lignaria Hungarica
ISSN 1786-691X

Volume: 5;
Start page: 167;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: mark-recapture | genotyping | transect | sample size | population density

Wild boar is a widespread and abundant species for which until now reliable and accuratepopulation estimates are still lacking. In this study, a method based on non-invasive genetic sampling appliedin a mark-recapture framework is tested. Faeces collected along line transects serve as DNA source. Aim ofthe study was to evaluate efficiency and practicability of the sampling design and to assess if a sample sizesufficient for reliable population estimation can be achieved. In a 12-day sampling trial which was conductedin winter 2006 and covered approx. 25 kmĀ², 4 persons collected 141 fresh wild boar faeces originating from74 different individuals. This sample size was below those recommended for non-invasive mark-recapturestudies. Population estimates calculated using program CAPTURE strongly differed between models. Eventhough the non-invasive approach worked in principle for wild boar, further research will have to focus onincreasing sample size while keeping cost and effort acceptable for a large scale application of the method.
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