Camera-trap survey to detect free-ranging domestic cats and other mammals in Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche Natural Park

Sampling event
Latest version published by Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC) on Nov 6, 2023 Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC)

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The current data set provides all mammals, but more specifically free-ranging domestic cats, recorded during two camera-trap surveys performed using the same methodology in Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche Natural Park (Southwestern Iberian peninsula). The first survey, comprised between 2018 and 2020, was carried out for the study described in Sanglas & Palomares 2022 and included the deployment of 44 camera-traps. The second survey was carried out between May and July 2023 within the subproject "Feral Cats" of the SUMHAL macroproject, in order to estimate the number of domestic cats ranging within a natural park with a certain degree of anthropisation. For that, 28 camera-traps were deployed across rural and natural habitats of the park.

Data Records

The data in this sampling event resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 72 records.

1 extension data tables also exist. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated below.

Event (core)

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The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Sanglas A, Palomares F (2023). Camera-trap survey to detect free-ranging domestic cats and other mammals in Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche Natural Park. Version 1.0. Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC). Samplingevent dataset.


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The publisher and rights holder of this work is Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC-BY-NC 4.0) License.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 9687731f-4d52-4340-a80a-2799489d2ef3.  Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC) publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by GBIF Spain.


camera trap; carnivores; distribution; mammals; Mediterranean region; mountainous area; occurrence; protected area; survey; free-ranging domestic cats; Felis catus; baited stations


Ariadna Sanglas
  • Metadata Provider
  • Author
  • Originator
Research assistant
Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSIC
Avda. Américo Vespucio 26
41092 Sevilla
Francisco Palomares
  • Metadata Provider
  • Originator
  • Point Of Contact
  • Principal Investigator
Principal investigator
Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSIC
Avda. Américo Vespucio 26
41092 Sevilla

Geographic Coverage

Camera traps were deployed across Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche Natural Park (province of Huelva; Spain).

Bounding Coordinates South West [37.749, -7.322], North East [38.139, -6.188]

Taxonomic Coverage

No Description available

Superorder Ungulata
Order Rodentia
Genus Rattus
Species Cervus elaphus, Dama dama, Erinaceus europaeus, Felis catus, Genetta genetta, Herpestes ichneumon, Homo sapiens, Lepus granatensis, Lutra lutra, Martes foina, Meles meles, Mustela nivalis, Oryctolagus cuniculus, Sus scrofa, Vulpes vulpes
Subspecies Canis lupus familiaris

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 2018-02-27 / 2020-08-10
Start Date / End Date 2023-05-08 / 2023-08-31

Project Data

The project SUMHAL aims at implementing a strategy for biodiversity conservation in the western Mediterranean hotspot by setting a technologically efficient and scientifically robust system. The project combines fieldwork and virtual research environments for the recording, storing, analysis, and dissemination of the conservation status and threats of biodiversity in Andalusia (Southern Spain). The general aim of WP4 is to focus on anthropogenic impacts (biological invasions, land-use changes and food subsidies) that are of great global concern and therefore relevant not only to Andalusian and Spanish ecosystems and societies, but also to Europe as a whole. To this end, it will use traditional and other novel methodologies, mainly of remote animal monitoring, in addition to the participation of society to monitor ecological and socio-economic impacts at different spatial scales.

Title Sustainability for Mediterranean Hotspots in Andalusia integrating LifeWatch ERIC (SUMHAL). Work package 4 (WP4): Combining field data, citizen science and loT to monitor anthropogenic impacts on Andalusian biodiversity and society
Identifier LIFEWATCH-2019-09-CSIC-4, POPE 2014-2020
Funding This study was funded by MICINN through European Regional Development Fund [SUMHAL, LIFEWATCH-2019-09-CSIC-4, POPE 2014-2020]
Study Area Description SUMHAL focuses in Andalusia (Southern Spain), as a representation of the western Mediterranean ecosystems. However, each subproject that belongs to WP4 has its own study area at a more local level. In this case, WP4 - Feral Cats took advantage of the study previously carried out by the same authors during 2018-2020 in Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche Natural Park in order to continue studying the presence of free-ranging domestic cats in rural and natural environments.

The personnel involved in the project:

Francisco Palomares

Sampling Methods

Camera traps were left at the same point for an average of one month during the first survey, and two weeks during the second, after checking that two weeks was enough to detect the majority of domestic cats moving in the surroundings of the camera. Cameras were separated from each other by a distance between 500 and 1000 m approximately. Between the two surveys, old positions were not taken into account, meaning that some positions might be very close to each other, but correspond to different sampling periods. Two different models of camera traps were used, Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Black Led during the first survey and Acorn LTL5310 during the second, similarly programmed to take 3 pictures per trigger at the minimum speed trigger available. Cameras were tied to trees or deployed using a tripod at 0.20–1 m above ground and set to distances of 2.5–8 m from baits. Camera traps were baited with dried cat food pellets placed in artificial feeding troughs (hand-made PVC pipes of 11-cm diameter and 50-cm long) and tied to trees with ropes in front of the cameras in order to maximise the likelihood of detecting all cats in the area.

Study Extent Both surveys were carried out in the Natural Park of Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche, located in the western part of Sierra Morena (N 37° 59′ 42″, W 6° 52′ 23″), in south-western Iberian Peninsula. The park has a total area of 186,795 ha distributed in small municipalities of agricultural-forestry-livestock tradition. Its altitude range (460–1055 m.a.s.l.), and the annual rainfall variability (700–1000 mm) creates a large number of different habitats and environmental conditions. The study area is dominated by a medium-sized carnivore guild. The most common carnivore species are red fox (Vulpes vulpes), European badger (Meles meles), Egyptian mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon), stone marten (Martes foina) and common genet (Genetta genetta), in addition to free-ranging domestic species such as cats (Felis catus) and dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) coming from small towns and scattered cottages.

Method step description:

  1. Pictures were sorted following the methodology of R package CamtrapR (Niedballa et al. 2016) in order to extract metadata (date and time of the picture). Consecutive pictures of the same species within a 30 min interval were considered as the same event unless individuals could be identified by their fur patterning (specifically domestic cats and dogs) or other features (injuries, marks, spots). Mammals belonging to domestic animal herds or other species of vertebrates such as birds or reptiles were not included.

Bibliographic Citations

  1. Sanglas A, Palomares F (2022). "Response of a mesocarnivore community to a new food resource: recognition, exploitation, and interspecific competition." European Journal of Wildlife Research, 68:51.
  2. Niedballa J, Sollmann R, Courtiol A, Wilting A (2016). “camtrapR: an R package for efficient camera trap data management.” Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 7(12), 1457–1462. doi:10.1111/2041-210X.12600

Additional Metadata

Purpose The dataset can be used to model distributions of mammal species, estimate the abundance of free-ranging domestic cats in rural and natural spaces with a human gradient and perform species presence-absence studies.
Maintenance Description This dataset is closed and will not be updated, unless errors or issues are reported by users.
Alternative Identifiers 10.15470/xqbah0