Many wildlife populations globally are experiencing unprecedented declines, and without accurate and precise estimates of abundance, we will not be able to conserve these vulnerable species. Remote cameras have rapidly advanced as wildlife monitoring tools and may provide accurate and precise estimates of abundance that improve upon traditional methods. Using remote cameras to estimate abundance may be less expensive, less intrusive, less dangerous, and less time consuming than other methods. While it is apparent that remote cameras have a place in the future of wildlife monitoring, research, and management, many questions remain concerning the proper use of these tools. In an effort to answer some of these questions, we used remote cameras to study a population of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) in Utah, USA from 2012 to 2014. In Chapter 1, we compared methods using remote cameras against 2 traditional methods of estimating abundance. In Chapter 2, we evaluated the relationship between deployment time of cameras and proportion of photos needed to be analyzed to obtain precise estimates of abundance. We found that methods using remote cameras compared favorably to traditional methods of estimating abundance, and provided a number of valuable advantages. In addition, we found that remote cameras can produce precise estimates of abundance in a relatively short sampling period. Finally, we identified the optimal sampling period to produce precise estimates of abundance for our study population. Our findings can help researchers better utilize the potential of remote cameras, making them a more suitable alternative to traditional wildlife monitoring.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Plant and Wildlife Sciences



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camera trap, remote camera, population size, estimate of abundance, mark-resight, helicopter, optimization, bighorn sheep, Ovis canadensis, Antelope Island State Park