Although accurate estimates of wild boar (Sus scrofa) populations are crucial for any effective resource management or pest control programme, this species is well known to be difficult to monitor. We conducted a ten-year study in a fenced Mediterranean forest (Rome, Italy) to evaluate nocturnal line transect sampling performances. We focused on its accuracy in monitoring changes in density, which was independently estimated by Capture-Mark-Resight performed on counts at feeding sites. We carried out night surveys in the autumn of 2001-2010, using portable infrared cameras to detect animals. We sampled on foot to cover the whole study area and the different habitat types evenly. However, to ensure safe working conditions during night and to limit disturbance, we placed transects along paths and forest roads. Therefore, we investigated the potential impact of our convenience sampling on the detection process, using radiolocations of wild boars to assess their distribution with respect to selected transects. We found that our survey design should not have biased our estimates and that densities and coefficients of variations from line transect sampling were consistent with CMR results. Although labour-intensive, we believe that our approach can improve wild boar monitoring effectively, even in concealing habitats, providing decision makers with accurate estimates (and quantified confidence limits) which can help to develop the most appropriate management programme. Moreover, the current low price of new-generation infrared cameras can also increase strongly the cost-effectiveness of this method.
Nocturnal line transect sampling of wild boar (Sus scrofa) in a Mediterranean forest: long-term comparison with capture-mark-resight population estimates / Franzetti, B; Ronchi, F; Marini, Francesca; Scacco, M; Calmanti, R; Calabrese, A; Aragno, P; Montanaro, P; Focardi, S.. - In: EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF WILDLIFE RESEARCH. - ISSN 1612-4642. - ELETTRONICO. - in press:---(2011), pp. -------.