Based on camera-trapping records and trends in conservation status of other species in the same areas, substantial range-wide declines of Annamite striped rabbit are likely to have occurred.
Although clear quantification of population size or decline rates is not possible, subjective assessment of available evidence, from camera-trapping of this species and trends in conservation status of other species in the same areas, suggests that substantial range-wide declines are very likely to have occurred.
The clearest and most compelling information on the population trend of Annamite striped rabbit comes from a camera-trapping project in central Viet Nam. Because camera-trapping as conventionally practiced in Indochina is often targeted at animals much larger than rabbits, and for a variety of objectives, there is wide variation in its ability to detect this rabbit reliably. During this specific camera-trapping project in central Viet Nam the cameras were set consistently low enough to record rabbit-sized ground-dwelling mammal species reliably. Systematic such camera-trapping (totaling 6,805 camera-trap-nights) in Bach Ma National Park (=NP) in 2014-2015 at 53 camera-trap stations evenly spaced across the national park detected Annamite striped rabbits at only four (7.5%) of the stations, with a total of seven detections (defined as images of the species separated by at least 60 minutes from the previous image of the species at the same station). Most records came from the more remote and rugged parts of the protected area. More intensive camera-trapping in a core part of the protected area, at finer spatial scale, failed to record the species at 64 stations (8,256 camera-trap-nights), indicating that the species is either extremely rare or extirpated in this part of the protected area.
Camera-trapping in the Hue and Quang Nam Saola Nature Reserves (=SNRs), two contiguous protected areas adjacent to Bach Ma NP, conducted immediately after the Bach Ma NP survey, detected the species more often. It was recorded at 10 of 39 stations with camera-traps spaced systematically over the protected areas, in a total of 5,933 camera-trap-nights, comprising 47 detections. The detection of Annamite striped rabbits at 25.6% of the camera-trap stations is far higher than in the landscape-scale camera-trapping in Bach Ma NP, but well below the occupancy of other mammals generally taken to be more resilient to hunting, such as ferret badgers (Melogale). A further 54 detections, from 14 of 64 stations, was obtained in an intensive effort in the reserves’ core. This intensive camera-trapping recorded a minimum of 27 individuals, as identified by their unique striping patterns. Unlike Bach Ma NP, the Hue and Quang Nam SNRs have some level of anti-poaching support (although snaring persists at high levels nonetheless), which could indicate that Annamite striped rabbit may be able to rebound in the presence of targeted anti-snaring efforts. However, no baseline survey was conducted in this area before anti-poaching activities began, so the population trend remains speculative.
• Image | © weera_20, Some Rights Reserved, Pixabay
• Sources | (Tilker, 2013c; Tilker, et al., 2019; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2021b)