Wright H.L.,University of East Anglia |
Collar N.J.,BirdLife International |
Collar N.J.,University of East Anglia |
Lake I.R.,University of East Anglia |
And 6 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Management | Year: 2013
Human exploitation and disturbance often threaten nesting wildlife. Nest guarding, a technique that employs local people to prevent such interference, is being applied to an increasing number of species and sites, particularly in South-East Asia. Although research has begun to assess the cost-effectiveness of nest guarding, case-control studies are rare and the circumstances in which the schemes are most useful remain unclear. We experimentally tested the effect of nest guarding for the critically endangered white-shouldered ibis (Pseudibis davisoni), a species exploited opportunistically for food and now largely confined to dry forests in Cambodia. We randomly applied guarded and unguarded (control) treatments to 24 and 25 nests, respectively, at a single site over 2 years. Nest guarding had no detectable effect on nest success, with an overall probability of nest success of 0.63-0.86 at guarded and 0.55-0.82 at unguarded nests. Nest monitoring across 4 study sites over 3 breeding seasons found a combination of natural predation, weather, and anthropogenic activities (robbery and vandalism) responsible for nest failure, although causes of failure remained unknown at 58% of nests. Nest guarding itself increased nest destruction at 1 site, indicating that this intervention needs cautious implementation if only a small proportion of the local community gains benefit. Comparison with other studies suggests that nest guarding effectiveness may be context-specific and differ between species that are exploited opportunistically, such as white-shouldered ibis, and those routinely targeted for trade. © The Wildlife Society, 2013.