Lamelas López, L. & Salgado, I. (2021) Applying camera traps to detect and monitor introduced mammals on oceanic islands.Oryx, 55(2), 181-188. DOI:10.1017/S0030605319001364 (IF2019 2,199; Q2 Biodiversity Conservation)
The introduction of mammal predators has been a major cause of species extinctions on oceanic islands. Eradication is only possible or cost-effective at early stages of invasion, before introduced species become abundant and widespread. Although prevention, early detection and rapid response are the best management strategies, most oceanic islands lack systems for detecting, responding to and monitoring introduced species. Wildlife managers require reliable information on introduced species to guide, assess and adjust management actions. Thus, a large-scale and long-term monitoring programme is needed to evaluate the management of introduced species and the protection of native wildlife. Here, we evaluate camera trapping as a survey technique for detecting and monitoring introduced small and medium-sized terrestrial mammals on an oceanic island, Terceira (Azores). Producing an inventory of introduced mammals on this island required a sampling effort of 465 camera-trap days and cost EUR 2,133. We estimated abundance and population trends by using photographic capture rates as a population index. We also used presence/absence data from camera-trap surveys to calculate detection probability, estimated occupancy rate and the sampling effort needed to determine species absence. Although camera trapping requires large initial funding, this is offset by the relatively low effort for fieldwork. Our findings demonstrate that camera trapping is an efficient survey technique for detecting and monitoring introduced species on oceanic islands. We conclude by proposing guidelines for designing monitoring programmes for introduced species.