Comparison and Optimisation of Nocturnal Surveying Techniques in South Africa

Fourie, Richard (2021) Comparison and Optimisation of Nocturnal Surveying Techniques in South Africa. Masters thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/ZA48DA99

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Animals are surveyed many different ways and have been for many years. Nocturnal animals in South Africa, such as aardvark (Orycteropus afer), porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis) and serval (Leptailurus serval) are notoriously elusive and difficult to detect. Many different methods have previously been used to study them, but direct empirical comparisons between methods are rare. Discovering if there is one overall technique that is better than any other or if there is an ideal combination of methods will assist future researchers in their studies, making it easier for them to discover particular species as well as finding them more often. In this study, it is aimed to find whether or not there is a single method that is better at detecting nocturnal species than any other method, or whether or not it is a combination of multiple methods used in tandem, as previously thought. Two different types of camera trapping and driven nocturnal transects using spotlights are compared with one another over an 18 month period to discover which is best for detecting a range of nocturnal species found at a site in South Africa. It was found that more common species, such as jackal were found often on driven nocturnal transects, with the rarer species found more often on camera traps, however not all species that are present on the site were found using either method, indicating a high degree of chance in discovering rarer species. These results suggest that while there may not be any one method that gives the best chance to discover all nocturnal species, researchers can pick certain methods for certain species in order to give the best chance of discovery.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nocturnal animals, South Africa; Field survey techniques; Camera traps; Driven nocturnal transects; Species factors
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Applied Sciences
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2022 11:58
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:57

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