The suitability of spotlight counts to index red fox abundance was assessed in an arid environment through a comparison with a scat deposition index (active attractant). In most cases there was a high degree of correlation between the two indices, suggesting that the spotlight counts were accurately documenting fluctuations in population size. However, the precision of the spotlight index was often low (c.v. = 0.07–0.46), suggesting that the technique may not allow the statistical detection of small changes in abundance. During periods when there was an influx of new individuals into the population, the seasonal scat index displayed a three-month time lag in documenting abundance while foxes accustomed themselves to the presence of the regular food supply. The level of precision of the scat index was also found to be relatively low (c.v. = 0.21–0.48). Nevertheless, further refinements of this technique may produce a suitable measure of fox abundance.
|Author||Sharp, A., Norton, M., Marks, A. and Holmes, K.|
|Secondary title||Wildlife Research|