We captured mongooses (Herpestes javanicus) in live traps arranged in trapping webs in Antigua, West Indies, and used capture-recapture and distance sampling to estimate density. Distance estimation and program DISTANCE were used to provide estimates of density from the trapping-web data. Mean density based on trapping webs was 9.5 mongooses/ha (range, 5.9-10.2/ha); estimates had coefficients of variation ranging from 29.82-31.58% (X?? = 30.46%). Mark-recapture models were used to estimate abundance, which was converted to density using estimates of effective trap area. Tests of model assumptions provided by CAPTURE indicated pronounced heterogeneity in capture probabilities and some indication of behavioral response and variation over time. Mean estimated density was 1.80 mongooses/ha (range, 1.37-2.15/ha) with estimated coefficients of variation of 4.68-11.92% (X?? = 7.46%). Estimates of density based on mark-recapture data depended heavily on assumptions about animal home ranges; variances of densities also may be underestimated, leading to unrealistically narrow confidence intervals. Estimates based on trap webs require fewer assumptions, and estimated variances may be a more realistic representation of sampling variation. Because trap webs are established easily and provide adequate data for estimation in a few sample occasions, the method should be efficient and reliable for estimating densities of mongooses.
Additional publication details
Estimation of density of mongooses with capture-recapture and distance sampling