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ESR prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01316

Status and conservation implications of a newly-discovered large-antlered muntjac population in Cambodia

Pablo Sinovas*, Ioannis Alexiou, Oliver Roberts, Jeremy Holden, Nasak Chantha, Andrew Tilker

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The large-antlered muntjac Muntiacus vuquangensis, a Critically Endangered deer found only in the Annamites ecoregion, has undergone severe population declines as a result of widespread snaring across its range. Little is known about the newly-discovered large-antlered muntjac population in Cambodia, and this lack of knowledge hinders the development of targeted conservation strategies and the implementation of robust monitoring. From February 23 to July 27 in 2021, we collected landscape-scale camera-trapping data on the Cambodian population in Virachey National Park. We recorded the species in 6 camera-trap stations in 2 of 7 areas surveyed. We analysed the camera-trap data with single-species Bayesian occupancy models to understand factors influencing occurrence and to produce a robust baseline for the species. Large-antlered muntjac occurrence had a positive relationship with elevation and a negative relationship to a least-cost-path measure of remoteness. Mean ± SD estimated occupancy was estimated to be 0.1 ± 0.17 across all stations, and 0.30 ± 0.29 and 0.25 ± 0.15 for the 2 grids where the species was detected. Our results provide new information on the distribution of large-antlered muntjac in Cambodia and can be used to target anti-poaching efforts and monitor population trends over time. Virachey National Park appears to be a stronghold for the species, and conservation actions are needed to ensure that its large-antlered muntjac population does not face the same fate as populations in other parts of the species range.