, Volume 56, Issue 4, pp 335-342
Date: 24 May 2011

Density of tiger and leopard in a tropical deciduous forest of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, southern India, as estimated using photographic capture–recapture sampling

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Abstract

Density of tiger Panthera tigris and leopard Panthera pardus was estimated using photographic capture–recapture sampling in a tropical deciduous forest of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, southern India, from November 2008 to February 2009. A total of 2,000 camera trap nights for 100 days yielded 19 tigers and 29 leopards within an intensive sampling area of 107 km2. Population size of tiger from closed population estimator model Mb Zippin was 19 tigers (SE = ±0.9) and for leopards Mh Jackknife estimated 53 (SE = ±11) individuals. Spatially explicit maximum likelihood and Bayesian model estimates were 8.31 (SE = ±2.73) and 8.9 (SE = ±2.56) per 100 km2 for tigers and 13.17 (SE = ±3.15) and 13.01 (SE = ±2.31) per 100 km2 for leopards, respectively. Tiger density for MMDM models ranged from 6.07 (SE = ±1.74) to 9.72 (SE = ±2.94) per 100 km2 and leopard density ranged from 13.41 (SE = ±2.67) to 28.91 (SE = ±7.22) per 100 km2. Spatially explicit models were more appropriate as they handle information at capture locations in a more specific manner than some generalizations assumed in the classical approach. Results revealed high density of tiger and leopard in Mudumalai which is unusual for other high density tiger areas. The tiger population in Mudumalai is a part of the largest population at present in India and a source for the surrounding Reserved Forest.

Communicated by: Krzysztof Schmidt