The Coiban agouti (Dasyprocta coibae) is a meso-sized rodent endemic to Coiba Island, Panama and is ostensibly classified as vulnerable to extinction. Despite this vulnerability, the ecology of the species remains unknown, and baseline estimates of population density and habitat use are needed to develop a scientifically-based conservation status and plan for the species. We recorded 2114 detections of Coiban agoutis using 30 camera traps broadly deployed across the range of habitat types on Coiba Island. We assessed 13 occupancy models using detections of unmarked agoutis, of which the best model estimated 73.3 agoutis/km2, which was positively related to proportion of primary forest. Coiban agouti detection was 86% and was greater on government maintained trails than wildlife trails. Coiban agoutis were most active during daylight (06:00–19:00) hours and during late May to early June. Estimated Coiban agouti density was less than density estimates of related agouti species in tropical forests of Central America with greater predation risk, suggesting habitat may be limited for Coiban agoutis. Our results suggest that a camera trap survey would be effective for future population monitoring of Coiban agoutis, which could be designed to assess the population dynamics and guide the conservation of the species.
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Vol. 42 • No. 3