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This book addresses issues of monitoring populations of tigers, ungulate prey species and habitat occupancy, with relevance to similar assessments of large mammal species and general biodiversity. It covers issues of rigorous sampling, modelling, estimation and adaptive management of animal populations using cutting-edge tools, such as camera-traps, genetic identification and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), applied under the modern statistical approach of Bayesian and likelihood-based inference. Of special focus here are animal survey data derived for use under spatial capture-recapture, occupancy, distance sampling, mixture-modeling and connectivity analyses.
Because tigers are icons of global conservation, in the last five decades, enormous amounts of commitment and resources have been invested by tiger range countries and the conservation community for saving wild tigers. However, the status of the big cat remains precarious. Rigorous monitoring of surviving wild tiger populations continues to be essential for both understanding and recovering wild tigers. However, many tiger monitoring programs lack the necessary rigour to generate the reliable results. While the deployment of technologies, analyses, computing power and human-resource investments in tiger monitoring have greatly progressed in the last couple of decades, a full comprehension of their correct deployment has not kept pace in practice.
In Methods for Monitoring Tiger and Prey Populations, Dr Ullas Karanth and Dr James Nichols, world leaders in tiger biology and quantitative ecology, respectively, address this key challenge. The have collaborated with an extraordinary array of 30 scientists with expertise in a range of necessary disciplines – biology and ecology of tigers, prey and habitats; advanced statistical theory and practice; computation and programming; practical field-sampling methods that employ technologies as varied as camera traps, genetic analyses and geographic information systems. Methods for Monitoring Tiger and Prey Populations is a 'tour de force' of cutting-edge methodologies for assessing not just tigers but also other predators and their prey. The 14 chapters here are lucidly presented in a coherent sequence to provide tiger-specific answers to fundamental questions in animal population assessment: why monitor, what to monitor and how to monitor.
While highlighting robust methods, the authors also clearly point out those that are in use, but unreliable. The managerial dimension of tiger conservation described here, the task of matching monitoring objectives with skills and resources to integrate tiger conservation under an adaptive framework, also renders Methods for Monitoring Tiger and Prey Populations useful to wildlife scientists as well as conservationists.
Chapter 1. Role of Monitoring in Global Tiger Conservation
Chapter 2. Tiger Ecology in Relation to Monitoring Issues
Chapter 3. Animal Population Monitoring: A Unified Conceptual Framework
Chapter 4. Concepts: Assessing Tiger Habitat Occupancy Dynamics
Chapter 5. Field Practices: Assessing Tiger Habitat Occupancy Dynamics
Chapter 6. Concepts: Estimating Abundance of Prey Species Using Line Transect Sampling
Chapter 7. Field Practices: Estimating Abundance of Prey Species Using Line Transect Sampling
Chapter 8. Concepts and Practices: Estimating Abundance of Prey Species Using Hierarchical Model-Based Approaches
Chapter 9. Concepts: Assessing Tiger Population Dynamics Using Capture-Recapture Sampling
Chapter 10. Field Practices: Assessing Tiger Population Dynamics Using Photographic Captures
Chapter 11. Concepts and Practices: Assessing Tiger Population Dynamics Using Genetic Captures
Chapter 12. Concepts: Integrating Population Survey Data from Different Spatial Scales, Sampling Methods and Species
Chapter 13. Concepts and Practices: Assessing Landscape Connectivity for Tigers and Prey Species
Chapter 14. Informed Decision Processes for Tiger Conservation. A Vision for the Future
K. Ullas Karanth (b:1948) is the Director for Science-Asia with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), New York, besides being Emeritus Director at Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS) based at Bengaluru. Originally trained as a mechanical engineer, he subsequently obtained his graduate education in wildlife biology from the University of Florida, Gainesville, USA and Mangalore University, India. Ecology of tigers, sympatric carnivores, and their prey species as well as issues of monitoring of wild animal populations have been his focal areas of research since 1986. Dr Karanth has published over 125 scientific articles. He has authored or edited 15 technical and popular books. Over the years, Dr Karanth has served on India's Forest Advisory Committee, National Tiger Conservation Authority, Governing Body of the Wildlife Institute of India and the Indian Board for Wildlife. He is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences and has received the J.Paul Getty Award from WWF-USA for Conservation Leadership. Dr Karanth has been honoured with India's Presidential award Padma Shri and Rajya Prashasthi by Karnataka State, in recognition of his services to wildlife conservation and science.
James D. Nichols (b: 1949) is now retired after 40+ years of service as a senior scientist, at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and then the U.S. Geological Survey. He received his undergraduate degree in biology from Wake Forest University, Masters degree in wildlife management from Louisiana State University and his Doctorate in Wildlife Ecology from Michigan State University, in the USA. His research interests are animal population dynamics and wildlife management with a special focus on the estimation of demographic parameters. He has published over 400 scientific articles and is widely recognised for his contributions to wildlife ecology and management. Dr Nichols is a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America and the recipient of various awards including Outstanding Publication Awards from The Wildlife Society and the American Statistical Association. He is a recipient of the Aldo Leopold Award (The Wildlife Society), Wetland Conservation Achievement Award (Ducks Unlimited), Award of Excellence (Biometrics Working Group of The Wildlife Society), U.S. Presidential Rank Award (Meritorious Senior Professional), and Wings Across America Award (U.S. Forest Service for outstanding contributions to bird conservation).