Biodiv Sci ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (3): 257-265.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2018194

• Special Feature: Analysis of Wildlife Camera-Trapping Data • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Using capture-recapture models in wildlife camera-trapping monitoring and the study case

Xiao Wenhong1,Hu Li2,Huang Xiaoqun1,Xiao Zhishu1,3,*()   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Integrated Management of Pest Insects and Rodents in Agriculture, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
    2 Management Bureau of Longxi-Hongkou National Nature Reserve, Dujiangyan, Sichuan 611830
    3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2018-07-16 Accepted:2018-10-12 Online:2019-03-20 Published:2019-03-20
  • Contact: Xiao Zhishu


The widespread use of camera trap promoted the development and innovation in wildlife population ecology research. Capture-recapture as a non-invasive sampling method can reliably estimate population parameters such as abundance and density, providing crucial information on endangered species protection and the effectiveness of conservation management. For animals with unique natural markings, such as felids, spots or stripes on the body recorded by camera traps can be used to identify individuals, and in turn to estimate population parameters based on capture-recapture models. In this review paper, we discuss the basic principle and application of capture-recapture research worldwide, with a focus on spatial capture-recapture models. We then summarize the operational procedures and considerations from camera deploy to data analyses. Using stray cat in Qingchengshan as an example we demonstrate the basic steps for using camera trap data to estimate population density and abundance through spatial capture-recapture models. Finally, we discuss the future development of capture-recapture models in studying population dynamics, landscape corridor design and resource selection.

Key words: camera trap, capture-recapture, data analysis, density estimation