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Mammalian Biology

, Volume 78, Issue 3, pp 226–230 | Cite as

Latrine survey as a method to estimate the population size of Arabian gazelles (Gazella arabica)

  • Torsten WronskiEmail author
  • M. Zafar-ul Islam
  • Martin Plath
Short Communication

Abstract

Arabian gazelle (Gazella arabica) populations have been decimated in most parts of their original range. As a cryptic, crepuscular species, Arabian gazelles are difficult to observe, rendering monitoring programs for conservation purposes a challenging endeavour. Latrine mapping has been suggested as an effective, time- and cost-efficient tool to survey and estimate the abundance of gazelles in remote areas with low population densities. In the present study we collected data from five populations in Saudi Arabia to address the question of how population estimates can be inferred from such latrine counts and uncovered a non-linear relationship between both variables. Methodologies applied during the five surveys differed between study sites, so caution is required when interpreting our data. Still, given the immediate threat to the survival of the species, there is an urgent need to establish a time- and cost-efficient sampling method that will be vital for the conservation of remnant pockets of natural populations and for the proclamation of new protected areas in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East, and the present data are the only available source of information in this context.

Keywords

Population estimate Localised defecation Road strip count Desert ungulate Habitat fragmentation 

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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Torsten Wronski
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • M. Zafar-ul Islam
    • 3
  • Martin Plath
    • 4
  1. 1.Zoological Society of London, Conservation ProgramsLondonUK
  2. 2.King Khalid Wildlife Research Centre, Saudi Wildlife AuthorityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.National Wildlife Research Centre, Saudi Wildlife AuthorityTaifSaudi Arabia
  4. 4.Department of Ecology & EvolutionUniversity of FrankfurtFrankfurt am MainGermany

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