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Title: On the Reliability of Expert Identification of Small-Medium Sized Mammals from Camera Trap Photos
Contributor(s): Meek, Paul (author); Vernes, Karl A  (author)orcid ; Falzon, Gregory  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2013
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.2461/wbp.2013.9.4Open Access Link
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Abstract: Camera trapping in scientific research has captivated practitioners globally and is now widely used as a primary survey method despite the unknowns and uncertainties of the tools. Using photos to identify species, especially coexisting species of similar appearance and niche are fraught with danger and can lead to serious conservation and management outcomes if identification is incorrect. The aim of this investigation was to test how accurately mammalogists with expertise in wildlife surveys could identify a range of species that were recorded during camera trap surveys. The identification of small-to-medium sized Australian mammal species using camera trap imagery by 158 professional wildlife surveyors was investigated using an internet survey. Fifty eight questions were posed to assess practitioner expertise in mammal trapping, and their accuracy in identifying 21 photos of 10 small-medium sized mammal species. Particular focus was placed on the identification of the Hastings River Mouse ('Pseudomys oralis') but other rodent species such as the Black Rat ('Rattus rattus'), the Bush Rat ('Rattus fuscipes'), and the Swamp Rat ('Rattus lutreolus') were included. The survey indicated that the correct identification of small mammals is highly variable between images of the same species, and that as a whole the professional wildlife community performs poorly at the identification of such species. Identification was more accurate where species were less likely to be confused with similar looking species, or where their identification was simple and/or obvious.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Wildlife Biology in Practice, 9(2), p. 1-19
Publisher: Sociedade Portuguesa de Vida Selvagem [Portuguese Wildlife Society]
Place of Publication: Portugal
ISSN: 1646-1509
Field of Research (FOR): 050205 Environmental Management
050206 Environmental Monitoring
050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales
960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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