Estimating bobcat population sizes and densities in a fragmented urban landscape using noninvasive capture-recapture sampling

Emily W. Ruell, Seth P. D. Riley, Marlis R. Douglas, John P. Pollinger, Kevin R. Crooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Bobcats (Lynx rufus) are valuable indicators of connectivity in the highly fragmented landscape of coastal southern California, yet their population sizes and densities are largely unknown. Using noninvasive scat sampling in a capture-recapture framework, we estimated population sizes for 2 similar areas of natural habitat with differing levels of isolation by human development in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, California. We used scat transects with geographic information system land-use layers and home-range sizes of bobcats to estimate effective sampling area and population densities. Estimates of population size in the study area connected to a much larger habitat area (26-31 individuals) were similar to estimates for the area that was completely surrounded by development (25-28 individuals). Bobcat densities for the 2 study areas also were similar (ranging from 0.25 to 0.42 bobcat/km 2) and likely represent recent population declines because of notoedric mange likely interacting with toxicants. These methods proved effective despite particularly low densities of bobcats and may be especially useful when study areas are geographically isolated, reducing the uncertainty in size of the sampling area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-135
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Mammalogy
Volume90
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2009

Keywords

  • INHS
  • Lynx rufus
  • Capture-recapture
  • Scat
  • Effective sampling area
  • Population size
  • Bobcat
  • Population density

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Ecology

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