Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Forestry

First Advisor

Carver, Andrew

Second Advisor

Nielsen, Clayton

Abstract

In 2004, the government of Panama created Ecoparque Panama with the aim of conserving unique habitat and curbing urbanization on the western slope of the Panama Canal. A lack of baseline ecological research in the area prompted the Panamanian National Environmental Authority and the U.S. Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry to fund a camera-trap study to catalog and determine relative abundance of predator and prey species in the Panama Canal region. These infrared-triggered camera-traps allowed researchers to study elusive wildlife that may otherwise remain undetected. Using techniques adapted from previous research, infrared and motion-triggered camera-traps were purposively placed in the 4 km2 Ecoparque (U.S. Forest Service spelling: Eco-Park) Panama study area to gather data on two cervid species, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and red brocket deer (Mazama americana). The study was conducted over a five month period (December 2005-April 2006). Data collected were analyzed using SPSS and Stastix statistical software. Results in the form of inferred relative abundances and densities show that populations currently appear to be within the local carrying capacity. Cervid management recommendations of this study include the continued moratorium on deer hunting and strengthening of the legal protection of the red brocket deer. Given the lack of previous data, the conclusions drawn from this preliminary study will be the foundation for future research in Panama.

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