, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 243-259

Censusing primates by transect in a forest of known primate density

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Abstract

A series of four transect or strip censuses of primates was carried out in a forest in eastern Colombia where the absolute density of the three diurnal species had been previously calculated during long-term studies. The diurnal species were Alouatta seniculus, Callicebus torquatus,and Cebus apella.Techniques were identical, except for a few variables tested for their effect on the experimental results;these included three different types of detection distances. Variable results were obtained for the two species having the smallest home ranges (A. seniculusand C. torquatus)with the most consistently accurate densities being calculated using the drop in the frequency distribution of sighting distances as a measure of the detection distance. Grossly inflated results were obtained for almost all calculations of C. apelladensity. The stimulus leading to the detection of particular primate groups was usually their vocalizations. Counts of recognized group members were inaccurate and short of the actual number of individuals in each group. Problems of censusing primates are discussed and some recommendations are made with respect to the use of the transect census method.