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Monitoring population density and activity pattern of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Central Mexico, using camera trapping

  • Leroy Soria-Díaz and Octavio Monroy-Vilchis EMAIL logo
From the journal Mammalia


White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are economically important in the Americas and are also the main prey of predators such as the jaguar (Panthera onca) and puma (Puma concolor), but human influence has led to the decline of their populations by hunting and increasing agricultural and pastoral land use. On the other hand, there is a lack of ecological knowledge on the species in central Mexico. We investigated the population density and activity pattern of white-tailed deer in the Sierra Nanchititla, Mexico, using 10 camera traps. Sampling was conducted over 18 months between 2004 and 2007. We identified deer in photographs, and the population abundance was estimated using the CAPTURE program and density by dividing the estimated abundance by the effective sampled area. The daily activity pattern was derived by using the recorded time in the photographs for each hour of the day. Population density was from 2.0 to 6.3 in the wet season and 0.8–12 individuals/km2 in the dry, showing a diurnal pattern. This study was one of the first using camera traps in Mexico, for a sampling period longer than 1 year and provided information for the development of management programs.

Corresponding author: Octavio Monroy-Vilchis, Estación Biológica Sierra Nanchititla, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, Instituto Literario 100, Colonia Centro, 50000 Toluca, Mexico, e-mail: ;


We would like to thank the Mexican people for funding the study through the Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Mexico with the projects (CONACYT 101254) Sierra Nanchititla. The staff of Zacango Zoo: Fernando Mejia, Jesús Frieven y Guillermo Díaz, for identification of the deer. The CONACYT for the scholarship (LSD) 214042. Mike S. Fowler (Swansea University) helped us improve the language. Reviews from Dr. Javier Manjarrez and Dr. Victor Fajardo strengthened the manuscript.


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Received: 2013-7-11
Accepted: 2014-4-30
Published Online: 2014-6-7
Published in Print: 2015-2-1

©2015 by De Gruyter

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