P27 activity patterns

In this release program there are two sets of data we are collecting to evaluate the success of the project: survival and the time it takes for the animal to establish a stable home range.

Our first female, P33, seemed to establish a stable home range of around 2 hectares after 22 days. This was regardless of whether the estimate was using only GPS den site co ordinates; only den site triangulation estimates; or triangulation estimates of den site and activity locations (although triangulation estimates did produce larger estimates of home range size).


The above graph shows the changes in home range size after release for P33 using den site GPS coordinates


The map above shows all the locations P33 (green stars = homed den sites; green circles = camera trap photos; red stars = triangulated den sites; and red circles = triangulated locations during activity).

P27, a larger male is currently has a home range size of 4.7 hectares. Over the first week he was showing much lower den site fidelity, moving every night. However, more recently he has been utilising den sites for two or three consecutive nights and the dens are a lot nearer. This insinuates that his home range is stabilising.

However, unlike the female P33, even if P27 use the same den site, he still appears to leave and then return. Last night we obtained camera trap photos of him leaving the den site at around 6pm and returning at around 9pm. With P33, if she used the same den site on consecutive nights, we never recorded her leaving the den, but changes in the radio signal suggested she was moving within the tree hollow.

At night we monitor activity by noting changes in the strength and/ or direction of the signal bearing, most nights the times we have concluded he is active using radio tracking accord with times the photos have been taken.

ImageThis photo shows P27 leaving his den site at 6.40pm and was photographed returning at 9pm. This matches what we concluded while we were camped 150m away listening to changes in the signal strength and direction. 


4 thoughts on “P27 activity patterns

  1. Very interesting data, good work! Nice use of camera traps too – how many traps do you have deployed with each pangolin?
    It will be interesting to see whether there are any further or seasonal changes to their home ranges (location, size) – would you expect changes to the availability or location of ants? best wishes, Paul

  2. For P27 we put a camera trap at the den site when we find it every morning and these are the photos of activity we are currently getting.

    There are also 10 camera traps at P34’s site (her transmitter fell off after a week, we have got one photo so far) in a small grid and there are 8 cameras at P33’s site all at her known den sites. However, we haven’t got any photos from P33 and P34 for 8 weeks and 6 weeks respectively. However, considering the capture rate so far, this is not surprising.

    There is little work done on the availability of ant and termites, however, studies done in the park have noted a seasonal variation in diversity of species. Another study conducted in the dry season noted that in areas of the park known to flood termite mounds were found a locally higher elevations.

    It will be interesting to see what happens over the coming the months.

    I have also been emailing the contacts you gave be about GPS tags, they are currently thinking of possibilities that will stay under our weight limit. Thank you for your help with this. Louise

    1. Thanks Louise for the information. I am currently testing the battery life of that CatTraq v3 device I mentioned (small, 44grams) as it could be useful for small Cape Pangolins, so it might be useful to stay in touch about such tags.
      So far, the lifetime seems short, but I want to repeat some tests before being sure.

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