I just read a new article about a new initiative to develop new protocols for the monitoring of tigers, and snow leopard, directed by the Global Tiger Forum and led by the Wildlife Institute of India. The research will call for the utilization of camera traps to make population estimates. It makes me think about shifting wildlife population estimates and the impact of new results and numbers on overall conservation strategy.
For instance, there could be a landscape that historically had 300 Asiatic Cheetahs in it. Previously, estimates were made based on prey density, recorded sightings and indiviidual footprint identification. As time passed, the population declined to about 20 individuals. New survey protocols are enacted, as well as new technology such as camera traps. These new methods place the population estimate at 75 cheetahs in the present.
Do conservationists choose to accept the new numbers as valid, and disregard the previous population estimates? Should they be recounted and re-estimated based on more available and fluid data?