Using estate records to monitor population trends in game and predator species, particularly weasels and stoats.
This paper shows how the annual record of number of animals killed, particularly by gamekeepers can provide data on the changing status of some species such as small predators which cannot at present be monitored by alternative means.
By reference to a well-studied estate in Sussex the advantages or such a system are demonstrated, and with given assumptions the data show changes in the relationship of predator and prey species over a twenty-four-year period. It is also shown how such records can be used in conjunction with studies of diet and breeding of small predators.
The effect of the variation between individual estate records can be minimised by using a large sample of estates. Data are presented from the National Game Census, which has over 400 contributing estates, and show similar significant trends.