A non-invasive monitoring on European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris Schreber, 1777) in Sicily using hair trapping and camera trapping: does it work?
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Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Catania, Via A. Longo, 19, 95125 Catania
Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Catania, Via A. Longo, 19, 95125 Catania, Italy
Dipartimento di Biologia Cellulare ed Ambientale, Università degli Studi di Perugia, Via Elce di Sotto, 06123 Perugia, Italy
Publish date: 2012-10-05
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2012;23(2):45–50
An hair trapping protocol, with camera trapping surveillance, was carried out on the south-western side of the Etna, inhabited by an abundant population of the European wildcat. We aimed to collect hair for genetic analysis on the base of a field study conducted in Switzerland, where valerian tincture had been used to attract wildcats to rub again wooden sticks and therefore leaving hairs. We placed 18 hair trapping stations, plus one camera trap per scented wooden stick, 1 km away from each other for 60 days (October 29 2010 to December 28 2010). The rate of “capture” success (1 capture / 24.5 trap-days) by camera trapping was substantially the same as those obtained during previous surveys performed in the same study area without the use of any attractants. No wildcats were photographed while rubbing against the wooden sticks, neither any wildcat was interested in the scent lure. We discuss limitations of the hair trapping, providing possible explanations on the failure of valerian tincture, while suggesting some field advices for future monitorings.