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Establishment of a real-time validation method for Fecal Standing Crop of forest deer estimates using scat detection dog

Grant number: 20/13482-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2021
Effective date (End): December 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Applied Ecology
Principal researcher:José Maurício Barbanti Duarte
Grantee:Rubia Ferreira dos Santos Morini
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e Veterinárias (FCAV). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Jaboticabal. Jaboticabal , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Population estimates are fundamental information for species conservation plans. The Fecal Standing Crop (FSC) method considers placed fecal samples on a detection range in order to estimate population density for cryptic and elusive species. However, to find fecal samples in the field is a challenge due to its degradation and environment (climate and vegetation). Scat detection dog using has showed be efficient to find feces of forest, rising significantly encounter success. However, some variables of FSC using scat detection dog must be corrected to reduce bias in the estimates. Using gray brocket deer (Mazama gouazoubira) as biological model, we aim validate the FSC method and propose a field experimental methodology for fecal encounter and removal corrections. Our sampling area is located at Cerrado biome, in the Santa Barbara's Ecological Station, a protected area of São Paulo state, Brazil. For three months, 10 fecal samples of gray brocket deer will be placed weekly along a 1600 meter transect and at different distances from this in two extreme environmental conditions, dry and rainy periods. After the last placement of fecal samples of each period, we will use scat detection dog to calculate its detection range and successful meeting of degraded samples. These parameters will be used on a real estimate in the FSC method of gray brocket deer with the sampling of seven transects from Santa Barbara's Ecological Station. Considering that the population size of the species does not change between seasons, we'll compare the obtained estimates in the two periods observing if the differences are statistically or biologically significant to influence the management and conservation policies.

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