Population estimation and trappability of the European badger (Meles meles): implications for tuberculosis management

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Title: Population estimation and trappability of the European badger (Meles meles): implications for tuberculosis management
Authors: Byrne, Andrew W.
O'Keeffe, James
Green, Stuart
Corner, L. A. (Leigh Austin)
Gormley, Eamonn
Murphy, Denise
et al.
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/5252
Date: 5-Dec-2012
Abstract: Estimates of population size and trappability inform vaccine efficacy modelling and are required for adaptive management during prolonged wildlife vaccination campaigns. We present an analysis of mark-recapture data from a badger vaccine (Bacille Calmette-Guérin) study in Ireland. This study is the largest scale (755 km²) mark-recapture study ever undertaken with this species. The study area was divided into three approximately equal-sized zones, each with similar survey and capture effort. A mean badger population size of 671 (SD: 76) was estimated using a closed-subpopulation model (CSpM) based on data from capturing sessions of the entire area and was consistent with a separate multiplicative model. Minimum number alive estimates calculated from the same data were on average 49-51% smaller than the CSpM estimates, but these are considered severely negatively biased when trappability is low. Population densities derived from the CSpM estimates were 0.82-1.06 badgers kmˉ², and broadly consistent with previous reports for an adjacent area. Mean trappability was estimated to be 34-35% per session across the population. By the fifth capture session, 79% of the adult badgers caught had been marked previously. Multivariable modelling suggested significant differences in badger trappability depending on zone, season and age-class. There were more putatively trap-wary badgers identified in the population than trap-happy badgers, but wariness was not related to individual's sex, zone or season of capture. Live-trapping efficacy can vary significantly amongst sites, seasons, age, or personality, hence monitoring of trappability is recommended as part of an adaptive management regime during large-scale wildlife vaccination programs to counter biases and to improve efficiencies.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Copyright (published version): 2012 Byrne et al.
Keywords: Badger;Mark-recapture;Trappability
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050807
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Veterinary Medicine Research Collection

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