Camera trap assessment of the mammalian assemblages within the Tuli Wilderness Area, Botswana
Lisek, John C.
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Surveying mammalian communities for species richness is enhanced by utilizing camera traps as a sampling tool. I conducted a survey of mammals within The Tuli Wilderness Area (TWA) located within The Northern Tuli Game Reserve (NTGR) of Botswana. In the 34 day sampling period, I had a total of 248 trap nights at 36 individual sites within the reserve. I surveyed 38 of the expected 53 mammal species resulting in a 71% success rate. A total of 18 mammalian families and 9 sub-families were detected. Several questions were addressed regarding species richness such as, how it is affected by habitat type, and how carnivore and herbivore richness differs within the TWA. Species richness varied greatly between individual camera sites. Using ArcGIS, I determined that 2 of the 36 sites were found to be hot spots and 2 of the 36 sites were cold spots of mammalian species richness. There were no differences in species richness among the three main habitat types (mopane, forest/scrub, or riverine). When compared to other camera trap locations, such as drainage lines, I determined that placement of camera traps along roads or trails increased detection of mammal species. Carnivore and herbivore species richness differed significantly within the TWA, with greater carnivore species richness. Species of ecological concern, such as the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), African leopard (Panthera pardus), and African lion (Panthera leo) were found at camera sites, indicating that baited camera trap research can be a valuable tool in monitoring species of concern within African reserves.