Accuracy and efficiency of detection dogs: a powerful new tool for koala conservation and management

Cristescu, Romane H., Foley, Emily, Markula, Anna, Jackson, Gary, Jones, Darryl and Frere, Celine (2015) Accuracy and efficiency of detection dogs: a powerful new tool for koala conservation and management. Scientific Reports, 5 . doi:10.1038/srep08349


Author Cristescu, Romane H.
Foley, Emily
Markula, Anna
Jackson, Gary
Jones, Darryl
Frere, Celine
Title Accuracy and efficiency of detection dogs: a powerful new tool for koala conservation and management
Journal name Scientific Reports   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2045-2322
Publication date 2015-02
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1038/srep08349
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 5
Total pages 6
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Accurate data on presence/absence and spatial distribution for fauna species is key to their conservation. Collecting such data, however, can be time consuming, laborious and costly, in particular for fauna species characterised by low densities, large home ranges, cryptic or elusive behaviour. For such species, including koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus), indicators of species presence can be a useful shortcut: faecal pellets (scats), for instance, are widely used. Scat surveys are not without their difficulties and often contain a high false negative rate. We used experimental and field-based trials to investigate the accuracy and efficiency of the first dog specifically trained for koala scats. The detection dog consistently out-performed human-only teams. Off-leash, the dog detection rate was 100%. The dog was also 19 times more efficient than current scat survey methods and 153% more accurate (the dog found koala scats where the human-only team did not). This clearly demonstrates that the use of detection dogs decreases false negatives and survey time, thus allowing for a significant improvement in the quality and quantity of data collection. Given these unequivocal results, we argue that to improve koala conservation, detection dog surveys for koala scats could in the future replace human-only teams.
Keyword Scat detection dogs
Vulpes macrotis mutica
Presence absence data
Occupancy
Carnivores
Abundance
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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