The Use of Selfie Camera Traps to Estimate Home Range and Movement Patterns of Small Mammals in a Fragmented Landscape

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The use of camera traps to track individual mammals to estimate home range and movement patterns, has not been previously applied to small mammal species. Our aim was to evaluate the use of camera trapping, using the selfie trap method, to record movements of small mammals within and between fragments of habitat. In a fragmented landscape, 164 cameras were set up across four survey areas, with cameras left to record continuously for 28 nights. Live trapping was performed prior to ear mark animals to facilitate individual identification on camera. Four small mammal species (sugar glider; Petaurus breviceps; brown antechinus; Antechinus stuartii, bush rat; Rattus fuscipes, and brown rat; Rattus norvigecus) were recorded on camera (N = 284 individuals). The maximum distance travelled by an individual sugar glider was 14.66 km, antechinus 4.24 km; bush rat 1.90 km and brown rat 1.28 km. Movements of both female and male sugar gliders in linear fragments were recorded at much higher rates than in larger patches of forest sampled in grids. Short term core homes ranges (50% KDE) of 34 sugar gliders ranged from 0.3 ha to 4.2 ha. Sugar glider core home ranges were on average 1.2 ha (±0.17) for females and 2.4 ha (±0.28) for males. The selfie trap is an efficient camera trapping method for estimating home ranges and movements due to its ability to obtain high recapture rates for multiple species and individuals. In our study landscape, linear strips of habitat were readily utilised by all small mammals, highlighting their importance as wildlife corridors in a fragmented landscape.

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NSW Environmental Trust



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