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Assessing uncertainty in sighting records: an example of the Barbary lion

Lee, Tamsin E., Black, Simon A., Fellous, Amina, Yamaguchi, Nobuyuki, Angelici, Francesco M., Al Hikmani, Hadi, Reed, J. Michael, Elphick, Chris S., Roberts, David L. (2015) Assessing uncertainty in sighting records: an example of the Barbary lion. PeerJ, 3 (e1224). ISSN 2167-8359. (doi:10.7717/peerj.1224)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1224

Abstract

As species become rare and approach extinction, purported sightings can be controversial, especially when scarce management resources are at stake. We consider the probability that each individual sighting of a series is valid. Obtaining these probabilities requires a strict framework to ensure that they are as accurately representative as possible. We used a process, which has proven to provide accurate estimates from a group of experts, to obtain probabilities for the validation of 32 sightings of the Barbary lion. We consider the scenario where experts are simply asked whether a sighting was valid, as well as asking them to score the sighting based on distinguishablity, observer competence, and verifiability. We find that asking experts to provide scores for these three aspects resulted in each sighting being considered more individually, meaning that this new questioning method provides very different estimated probabilities that a sighting is valid, which greatly affects the outcome from an extinction model. We consider linear opinion pooling and logarithm opinion pooling to combine the three scores, and also to combine opinions on each sighting. We find the two methods produce similar outcomes, allowing the user to focus on chosen features of each method, such as satisfying the marginalisation property or being externally Bayesian.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.7717/peerj.1224
Uncontrolled keywords: Data quality, Critically endangered, IUCN red list, Sighting record, Possibly extinct, Sighting uncertainty, Panthera leo, Extinct
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH541 Ecology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biodiversity Conservation Group
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biodiversity Management Group
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: David Roberts
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2015 09:19 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 15:58 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/50344 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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