U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Ecological Applications, 26(7), 2016, pp. 2339–2346


U.S. Government Work


Evaluation of the progress of management programs for invasive species is crucial for demonstrating impacts to stakeholders and strategic planning of resource allocation. Estimates of abundance before and after management activities can serve as a useful metric of population management programs. However, many methods of estimating population size are too labor intensive and costly to implement, posing restrictive levels of burden on operational programs. Removal models are a reliable method for estimating abundance before and after management using data from the removal activities exclusively, thus requiring no work in addition to management. We developed a Bayesian hierarchical model to estimate abundance from removal data accounting for varying levels of effort, and used simulations to assess the conditions under which reliable population estimates are obtained. We applied this model to estimate site-specific abundance of an invasive species, feral swine (Sus scrofa), using removal data from aerial gunning in 59 site/time-frame combinations (480–19,600 acres) throughout Oklahoma and Texas, USA. Simulations showed that abundance estimates were generally accurate when effective removal rates (removal rate accounting for total effort) were above 0.40. However, when abundances were small (

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