Animal Density Estimation for Large Unmarked Populations using a Spatially Explicit Model

Riki Herliansyah, Ruth King, Dede Aulia Rahman, Stuart E King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Obtaining abundance and density estimates is a particularly important aspect within wildlife conservation and management. To monitor wildlife populations, the use of motion- sensor camera traps is becoming increasing popular due to its non-invasive nature. However, animal identification is not always feasible in practice due to poor quality images and/or individuals not having uniquely identifiable physical characteristics. Spatially explicit models for unmarked
individuals permit the estimation of animal density when individuals cannot be uniquely identified. Due to the structure of these models, a Bayesian superpopulation (data augmentation) approach is often used to fit the models to data, which involves specifying some reasonably large upper limit for the population. However, this approach presents substantial computational
challenges for larger populations, as demonstrated by the motivating dataset relating to barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak) collected in Ujung Kulon National Park, Indonesia (with a population size in the low thou- sands). We develop a new and computationally efficient Bayesian algorithm for fitting the models to data, that does not require specifying an upper population limit a priori. We apply the new algorithm to the large barking deer dataset, where the standard super- population approach is computationally expensive, and demonstrate a substantial improvement in computational efficiency.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics
Early online date24 Jan 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jan 2024


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