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With an estimated < 50 adult individuals remaining, the Critically Endangered Balkan lynx Lynx lynx balcanicus is one of the rarest, most threatened and least-studied large carnivores. To identify priority conservation areas and actions for the subspecies, during 2006–2014 we conducted 1,374 questionnaire surveys throughout the potential range of the Balkan lynx to (1) evaluate human–lynx interactions and identify potential threats, and (2) determine the probability of site use in 207 grid cells through occupancy modelling. Human–lynx interactions were related mainly to poaching of lynx, and damage to livestock by lynx. Poaching was intense throughout the potential range of the subspecies, apparently having affected 50–100% of the total estimated extant population. Damage to livestock was recorded only in relation to sheep, mainly in the southern part of the lynx's potential range. Occupancy modelling indicated 108 grid cells with high probability of site use, which was affected mainly by increased terrain ruggedness and reduced forest cover. Based on the combined results of our study we identified five priority areas for conservation, as well as in situ habitat protection, community participation in the conservation of the subspecies, and the improvement and implementation of the existing legal framework as the priority conservation actions for the Balkan lynx.
The Pyrenean brown bear Ursus arctos population in the mountains between France and Spain is one of the smallest and most threatened populations of large carnivores in Europe. We assessed trends in brown bear habitat use in the Pyrenees and investigated the underlying environmental and anthropogenic drivers. Using detection/non-detection data collected during 2008–2014 through non-invasive methods, we developed dynamic occupancy models, accounting for local colonization and extinction processes. We found two non-connected core areas of occupancy, one in the west and the other in the centre of the Pyrenees, with a significant decrease in habitat use overall during 2008–2014. We also found a negative correlation between human density and bear occupancy, in agreement with previous studies on brown bear habitat suitability. Our results confirm the Critically Endangered status of the Pyrenean population of brown bears.
Because of the difficulties encountered in detecting many large tropical forest-dwelling species in their natural habitat, precise figures concerning the distribution, number and trends of many populations remain deficient. In tropical forests, ground surveys are generally carried out by counting objects along straight lines. These counts require a strict compliance with the line-transect methodology before (proper design of the census), during (careful data collection) and after (accurate and correct data processing and analysis) the census itself. In addition, the major source of bias when estimating population size and/or trends comes from the extrapolation of estimates obtained in small sampling areas to the larger, and often incompletely known, distribution of the population. In the Kinabatangan floodplain (Sabah, Malaysia), helicopter surveys were useful in directly assessing the distribution of orang-utans and were a major advantage in the precise estimation of the size of the orang-utan population surviving in this region. Our survey showed that about 1100 orang-utans remain in the multiple-use forests of the Kinabatangan floodplain. These results provide new evidence on orang-utan adaptation to habitat disturbance and indicate the potential of the Kinabatangan multiple-use forests for orang-utan conservation. Helicopter surveys appear to be a promising alternative to ground survey for precise distribution assessment and for monitoring population trends of apes throughout their entire range in Asia and in some parts of Africa.
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