ESR prepress abstract  -  doi: 10.3354/esr00802

Terrestrial camera traps are an essential tool for the detection and future monitoring of the Critically Endangered Sira curassow Pauxi koepckeae

Christopher Beirne*, Ruthmery Pillco-Huarcaya, Shirley Jennifer Serrano-Rojas, Andrew Whitworth

*Email: c.w.beirne@exeter.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: The only known population of Sira curassow Pauxi koepckeae resides within the Sira Communal Reserve, a chain of isolated and high elevation outcrops of the Peruvian Andes. The species has previously been detected on just a handful of occasions, is thought to number less than 400 adult individuals and is Critically Endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. As such, evaluating potential monitoring techniques to study the Sira curassow is of crucial importance in order to best inform future management strategies. We performed a preliminary assessment of camera traps in order to detect and collect novel ecological information on the Sira curassow. We used 17 cameras placed at regular altitudinal intervals (either 50 or 100 m) between 800 and 1800 m above sea level, 2 cameras placed at important habitat features, and 2 additional cameras placed on trails to assess hunting activity. Cameras were left in situ for 6 months (March–September 2015). Sira curassows were detected at 26% of survey locations, totalling 19 independent detections. This resulted in an overall occupancy estimate of 0.25 across the whole transect and 0.55 across the current known elevational range. All records occurred between 1150 and 1500 m. Finally, we detail new ecological information obtained from the camera trap footage, readdress current threats to the species and provide recommendations regarding future monitoring.