Estimating the population density of Iberian wild goat Capra pyrenaica and mouflon Ovis aries in a Mediterranean forest environment

Rita Tinoco Torres, Juan Herrero, Carlos Prada, Alicia Garcia-Serrano, Olatz Fernandez-Arberas, Ricardo Garcia-Post


Aim of study: To manage and conserve wild populations effectively, a good understating of population density is critical. During 2010, the density of Iberian wild goat Capra pyrenaica and mouflon Ovis aries were estimated.
Area of study: The area is situated in Muela de Cortes Game Reservation (Spain), a Mediterranean forest plateau, after a mange Sarcoptes scabiei outbreak that affected both species.
Material and methods: To measure the abundance, sex ratio and productivity of the Iberian wild goat and mouflon. Field work was conducted during spring (after parturition) and autumn (during rut) by walking along itineraries, using a Distance Sampling approach.
Main results: Based on DS, the best relative fit of model and adjustment term for Iberian wild goat was hazard-rate cosine, based on the lowest AIC score. The average density for Iberian wild goat was 4 km-2 (95% CI: 2,3 – 6,9) (after parturition) and 3,6 km-2 (95% CI: 2 – 6.6) (during rut). Average estimation was 1,422 goats (95% CI: 813 – 2,487) after parturition and 1,308 during rut (95% CI: 725 – 2,362). Mouflon best relative fit of model and adjustment term was uniform cosine after parturition, based on the lowest AIC score. The best relative fit of model and adjustment term for mouflon was hazard-rate cosine, based on the lowest AIC score. The average density was 6.8 mouflon km-2 (95% CI: 4.7 – 9,9) after parturition and 7,4 mouflon km-2 (95% CI: 4,4 – 12,5) during rut. Average estimation was 2,440 mouflon after parturition (95% CI: 1,673 – 3,558) and 2,678 during rut (95% CI: 1,589 – 4,515).
Research highlights: The area represents one of the largest continental free-living populations of mouflon in Europe and a relevant area for Iberian wild goat, where it has survived for centuries and spread into the East Iberia. This study suggests that the survey methods used are suitable and sustainable with available field personnel for quantifying changes in wild goat and mouflon populations, particularly in rugged forest environments. Monitoring should be continued and be part of the development of a comprehensive management programme for Iberian wild goat and mouflon.

Keywords: Itineraries; Distance Sampling; sustainable monitoring; Capra pyrenaica; Ovis aries; Game Reservation.

Full Text:



Acevedo P, Vicente J, Alzaga V, Gortázar C, 2005. Relationship between bronchopulmonary nematode larvae and relative abundances of Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica hispanica) from Castilla-La Mancha, Spain. J Helmint 79: 113-118.

Alados CL, Escós J, 2003. Cabra montés-Capra pyrenaica. Enciclopedia Virtual de los Vertebrados Espa-oles (Carrascal LM, Salvador LA, eds). Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC, Madrid, Spain.

Apollonio M, Andersen R, Putman R, 2010. European ungulates and their management in the 21st Century. Cambridge, UK.

Apollonio M, Meneguz PG, 2003. Il muflone. In: La fauna d'Italia: carnivori ed ungulati (Boitani L, Lovari S, Vigna R, eds). Ministero dell'Ambiente.

Arneberg P, Skorping A, Grenfell B, Read AF, 1998. Host densities as determinants of abundance in parasite communities. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 265: 1283-1289.

Blanco JC, 1998. Muflón. In: Mamíferos de Espa-a II. Cetáceos, artiodáctilos, roedores y lagomorfos de la Península Ibérica, Baleares y Canarias. Planeta, Barcelona. pp: 144-149.

Bon R, Cugnasse J-M, Dubray D, Gibert P, Houard T, Rigaud P,1991. Le mouflon de Corse. Revue d'ecologie 6: 67-110.

Brown JA, Boyce MS, 1998. Line transect sampling of Karner blue butterflies (Lycaeides melissa samuelis). Environ Ecol Stat 5: 81-91.

Buckland ST, Anderson DA, Burnham KP, Laake JL, 1993. Distance sampling: estimating abundance of biological populations. Chapman and Hall, London, UK.

Buckland ST, Anderson DR, Burnham KP, Laake JL, Borchers DL, Thomas L, 2001. Introduction to distance sampling. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Cabrera A, 1911. The subspecies of the Spanish ibex. London, UK. pp: 963-967.

Cargnelutti B, Reby D, Desneux L, Angibault J, Joachim J, Hewison A, 2002. Space use by roe deer in a fragmented landscape. Some preliminary results. Revue d'ecologie 57: 29-37.

Caughley G, Sinclair ARE, 1994. Wildlife ecology and management. Blackwell Scientific, Boston, MA, USA.

Fandos P, 1991. La cabra montés Capra pyrenaica en el Parque Natural de las Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas. ICONA-CSIC, Madrid, Spain.

Focardi S, Aragno P, Montanaro P, Riga F, 2006. Inter-specific competition from fallow deer Dama dama reduces habitat quality for the Italian roe deer Capreolus capreolus italicus. Ecography 29: 407- 417.

Focardi S, Marinis AMD, Rizzotto M, Pucci A, 2001. Comparative evaluation of thermal infrared imaging and spotlighting to survey wildlife. Wild Soc Bull 29, 133-139.

Focardi S, Montanaro P, Isotti R, Ronchi F, Scacco M, Calmanti R, 2005. Distance sampling effectively monitored a declining population of Italian roe deer Capreolus capreolus italicus. Oryx 39: 421-428.

Franzetti B, Ronchi F, Marini F, Scacco M, Calmanti R, Calabrese A, Paola A, Paolo M, Focardi S, 2011. Nocturnal line transect sampling of wild boar (Sus scrofa) in a Mediterranean forest: long-term comparison with capture- mark-resight population estimates. Eur J Wild Res 58: 385-402.

Gaillard J-M, Loison A, Toigo C, Delorme D, Van Laere G, 2003. Cohort effects and deer population dynamics Ecoscience 10: 412-420.

García-González R, Herrero J, 1999. El Bucardo de los Pirineos: historia de una extinción. Galemys 11: 17-26.

Garin I, Herrero J, 1997. Distribution, abundance and demographic parameters of the Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra p. pyrenaica) in Navarre, Western Pyrenees. Mammalia 61: 55-63.

Garrido JL, 2004. Aprovechamientos por especies y autonomías. Máster en Conservación y Gestión de los Recursos Cinegéticos. Ciudad Real, Spain.

Gilbert FF, Dodds DG, 1992. The philosophy and practice of wildlife management. Florida, Krieger Publisher Company, USA.

Gortázar C, Acevedo P, Ruiz-Fons F, Vicente J, 2006. Disease risks and overabundance of game species. Eur J Wild Res 52: 81-87.

Gortázar C, Herrero J, Villafuerte R, Marco J, 2000. Historical examination of the status of large mammals in Aragón, Spain. Mammalia 64: 411-422.

Granados J, Pérez JM, Márquez FJ, Serrano E, Soriguer RC, Fandos P, 2001. La cabra montés (Capra pyrenaica, Schinz 1838). Galemys 3: 9-14.

Herrero J, García-Serrano A, Prada C, Fernández-Arberas O, 2011. Using block counts and distance sampling to estímate populations of chamois. Pirineos 166: 123-133.

Herrero J, Torres RT, Prada C, García-Serrano A, Giménez- Anaya A, Fernández O, 2013. Sustainable monitoring of roe deer in public hunting areas in the Spanish Pyrenees. Forest Systems 22(3): 456-462.

Hofer D, 1999. The lion's share of the hunt. Trophy hunting and conservation: a review of the legal Eurasian tourist hunting market and trophy trade under CITES. TRAFFIC Europe.

Kahila Bar-Gal G, Ducos P, Kolska Horwitz L, 2003. The application of ancient DNA analysis to identify neolithic caprinae: a case study from the site of Hatoula, Israel. Int J Osteoarchaeology 13: 120-131.

León-Vizcaino L, Ruiz de Ybanez M, Cubero MJ, Ortiz JM, Espinosa J, Pérez L, Simon MA, Alonso F, 1999. Sarcoptic mange in Spanish ibex from Spain. J Wild Diseas 35: 647- 665.

Lynch TB, Rusydi R, 1999. Distance sampling for forest inventory in Indonesian teak plantations. For Ecol Manag 113: 215-221.

Manceau V, Crampe J-P, Boursot P, Taberlet P, 1999. Identification of evolutionary significant units in the Spanish wild goat, Capra pyrenaica (Mammalia, Artiodactyla). Anim Conserv 2: 33-39.

Marques FFC, Buckland ST, Goffin D, Dixon CE, Borchers DL, Mayle BA, Peace AJ, 2001. Estimating deer abundance from line transect surveys of dung: sika deer in southern Scotland. J Appl Ecol 38: 349-363.

McConkey KR, Chivers DJ, 2004. Low mammal and hornbill abundance in the forests of Barito Ulu, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Oryx 38: 439-447.

Meneguz PG, Rossi L, Sommavilla GM, De Martin P, Rodolfi M. 1996. Sulla piu' temibile parassitosi della fauna alpina: la rogna sarcoptica del camoscio. Large Anim Rev 2: 75-83.

Moço G, Guerreiro M, Ferreira AF, Rebelo A, Loureiro A, Petrucci-Fonseca F, Pérez JM, 2006. The ibex Capra pyrenaica returns to its former Portuguese range. Oryx 40: 351-354.

Onderscheka K, 1982. Etat actuel de la recherche sur la gale du chamois. Proc Symp sur le Chamois, Conseil International de la Chasse et de la Fauna sauvage, Ljubljana, Yugoslavia (1982). pp: 89-108.

Palomares F, Ruiz-Martínez I, 1993. Status und aussichtcn mr den schutz der population des Spanischen sSteinbocks (Capra pyrenaiea) im Sierra Máfgina Naturpark in Spanien. Z Jagdwissenschaft 39: 87-94.

Palomares F, 2001. Comparison of 3 methods to estimate rabbit abundance in a Mediterranean environment. Wildl Soc Bull 29: 578-585.

Pérez JM, Granados JE, Soriguer RC, Fandos P, Márquez FJ, Crampe JP, 2002. Distribution, status and conservation problems of the Spanish Ibex, Capra pyrenaica (Mammalia: Artiodactyla). Mamm Rev 32: 26-39.

Pérez JM, Ruiz I, Granados JE, Soriguer RC, Fandos P, 1997. The dynamics of sarcoptic mange in the ibex population of Sierra Nevada in Spain. Influence of climatic factors. J Wild Res 2: 86-89.

Prada C, García-Serrano A, Arteaga Z, Fernández-Arberas O, Herrero J, 2011. Seguimiento de la cabra montesa en Castellón (2008-2010). Unpublished report of the Regional Government of Valencia, Spain.

Rodríguez Piñero JC, Rodríguez Luengo JL, 1992. Autumn food habits of the Barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia Pallas, 1772) on La Palma Island (Canary Islands). Mammalia 56: 385-392.

Rossi L, Meneguz PG, De Martin P, Rodolfi M, 1995. The epizootiology of sarcoptic mange in chamois, Rupicapra rupicapra, from the Italian eastern Alps. Parassitologia 37: 233-240.

Sánchez Hernández L, 2002. Characteristics of the Iberian wild goat Capra pyrenaica hispanica of Madrona and Sierra Quintana (Spain). The success of private management. Pirineos 157: 169-180.

Sánchez Isarria MA, Hermoso J, Theureau J, Casanova G, Burgui JM, Sanchos G, Arévalo PRS, 2008. Metodología empleada en la estrategia del control de la sarna sarcóptica en la cabra montés de la Reserva Valenciana de Caza de la Muela de Cortes entre los a-os 2002-2007 (Valencia) (Granados Torres JEC-MLJ, Fandos París P, Cadenas del Llano Aguilar R, eds). II Congreso Internacional del género Capra en Europa. p: 255-268.

Sarasa M, Rambozz L, Rossi L, Meneguz PG, Serrano E, Granados JE, González FJ, Fandos P, Soriguer RC, Gonzalez G et al., 2010. Sarcoptes scabiei: specific immune response to sarcoptic mange in the Iberian ibex Capra pyrenaica depends on previous exposure and sex. Exp Parasitol 124: 265- 271.

Shackleton DM, 1997. Wild sheep and goats and their relatives: status survey and conservation action plan for caprinae. Gland, IUCN.

Smart JCR, Ward AI, White PCL, 2004. Monitoring woodland deer populations in the UK: an imprecise science. Mamm Rev 34: 99-114.

Solberg EJ, Loison A, Ringsby TH, Sæther B-E, Heim M, 2002. Biased adult sex ratio can affect fecundity in primiparous moose Alces alces. Wildl Biol 8: 117-128.

Thomas T, Buckland ST, Rexstad EA, Laake JL, Strindberg S, Hedley SL, Bishop JRB, Marques TA, Burnham KP, 2010. Distance software: design and analysis of distance sampling surveys for estimating population size. J Appl Ecol 47: 5-14.

Tsaparis D, Katsanevakis S, Stamouli C, Legakis A, 2008. Estimation of roe deer Capreolus capreolus and mouflon Ovis aries densities, abundance and habitat use in a mountainous Mediterranean area. Acta Theriol 53: 87-94.

Varman K, Sukumar R, 1995. The line transect method for estimating densities of large mammals in a tropical deciduous forest: An evaluation of models and field experiments. J Biosc 20, 273-287.

Vyrpaev VA. 1985. The influence of an epizootic of Sarcoptes scabiei infection on a population of the central Asiatic mountain ibex (Capra sibirica) in Tien- Shan. Parazitologiya 19: 190-194.

Yoccoz NG, Nichols JD, Boulinier T, 2001. Monitoring of biological diversity in space and time. Trends Ecol Evol 16: 446-453.

DOI: 10.5424/fs/2014231-03322