Wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo mexicana) monitoring: Innovation in sampling and estimator of population density


Fernando Clemente-Sánchez
Octavio C. Rosas-Rosas
Luis A. Tarango-Arámbula


Wild fauna; population; density; Meleagris gallopavo; sample size.


Objective: To estimate the population of wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo, mexicana) and its density in ecosystems of its distribution.
Design / methodology / approach: A method based on random sampling with a population density estimator was designed. The design was based on the observation of wild turkeys that go to attraction sites (feedlots) of 2,500 m 2 (50 X 50 m) counted in 12 h a day, three consecutive days. For the total of random sites, the criterion of one site for every 300 ha of surface under study was used. The study was carried out on March 1, 2 and 3, 2019 in 3,000 ha of pine-oak forest, in Monte Escobedo, Zacatecas, Mexico. Observations were made from a fixed point 25 m from each site, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The attraction sites were located at a random distance within 10 systematically fixed transects in the study area.
Results: The results showed a population of 66 turkeys in 3,000 ha, with a density of 0.022 turkeys ha -1 .

Limitations / implications: The application of the method was useful for the monitoring of wild turkey in the pine-oak forest, showing that it is a method that does not affect the population, which does not require long sampling times, is reliable, low-cost, and easy to carry out. The method is not reliable in ecosystemsthat do not allow the location of high visibility sites.
Findings / conclusions: Considering the distribution of wild turkey in Mexico, the method is a new alternative applicable to population studies of wild turkey.

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