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Hello my name is Mrs. Deacon. Please join me as I travel to Nova Scotia to study the ecology of mammal populations.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

In Search of Deer using Scat

     Field signs are a useful tool to assist in counting populations and the presence of animals.  As stated in last night's post. field signs can include Scat / Poo (which scientists now can use DNA to determine the type of animal), tracks, burrows, feeding remains, damage to trees, calls / vocalizations, hair / other shed “bits” (ex: antlers from deer), dead animals – most you find as road traffic accident, and smell.
     In Nova Scotia, we learned a technique to examine an area for deep droppings.  This is called PGI or pellet group inventory.  We counted droppings in a 10x10 area which is 1/100th of a hectare.  On average, a white tailed deer will produce 20 piles / hectare / day (1 hectare – 100 meters by 100 meters).
     We found 51 droppings in our ten random sample areas.  To calculate an approximate number of white tailed deer in the area, 51 / 10 = 5.1 / 8 = 0.6375 white tailed deer / hectare.  So if we take the area of the whole place of interest, say 54,000 and multiply it by 0.6375, it gives us a rough population of approximately 34,000 deer in the area.

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