A study using motion-triggered cameras in the wild has revealed that grasslands and floodplains are home to the most diverse communities of mammals in northern Botswana.
Lindsey Rich of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg and her colleagues analysed more than 8,000 photographs of 44 species of mammal taken by 'camera traps' at more than 200 locations across the Okavango Delta of Botswana between February and July 2015 (pictured is a female serval; Leptailurus serval). They developed models to estimate the spatial distributions of the mammals, and found that species diversity increased with distance into protected areas. Larger species and herbivores benefited from these areas the most, whereas diversity of medium-sized animals was higher in non-protected areas.
The authors say that their methods could be an efficient way of gathering data for conservation of wildlife communities.
J. Appl. Ecol. http://doi.org/bfqr (2016)