What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of the Capture Mark-Recapture Method?

What is Capture-Recapture Method? Which Animals are taken for Capture-Recapture? Are Capture-Recapture Method not accurate? What is a Migration?

Mark-recapture has a big narrative to tell in terms of wildlife management and study. Animals of a specific demographic are caught and marked with paint or a tag using this procedure. These animals are reintroduced to their environment after being marked and later captured. Here, you will find out what is capture-recapture method in detail and the advantages and disadvantages of the capture mark-recapture method.

1. What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of the Capture Mark-Recapture Method?

The mark and recapture method is used to count population size from repeated sampling of the unusual marked animals, However, marking and capturing has both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s read some of the advantages and disadvantages of the capture mark-recapture method. 


  • It acknowledges the measure of a population to keep a close eye on the survival count. So, the mark-recapture approach is often used in environmental studies to track population survival rates.
  • A significant amount of mark-recapture data also contains sampling events, with each sample disclosing information about recaptures and newly captured subjects. 
  • It is not harmful to a lot of species as it is compared to other methods of estimating and marking.
  • Its certainty does not depend on the estimation of the local habitat.


  • The accuracy depends on capturing a large measure of the population.
  • A lot of study populations are geographically locked as only some parts of the population ranges are included in the research area.
  • Animals can move in and out of the study areas, and you can’t keep the exact count when they are getting frequently extinct. 

2. What is Capture-Recapture Method?

Photo By Vladmir Blyufer on Pexels

The mark-recapture approach is used to measure the size of the population, where it sometimes becomes impossible to count every individual animal. The idea behind this is to capture a few animals, but with harmless marks on them, and then put them back into their habitat. Later, you catch another small group and record the number of marks. In a small population, you can easily capture the marked individuals. However, in a large population, you cannot do that. It can be shown mathematically. 

N = (M × C) / R

N = Approximate number of individuals in the population

M = Total number of individuals captured and marked

C = Total number captured for the second time

R = Number of marks recaptured. Must see What is The Relationship between Water Clarity and Urchin Survival?

3. Are Capture-recapture Method not Accurate?

You already know about the advantages and disadvantages of the capture mark-recapture method. So, what do you think, are capture-recapture method not accurate or accurate?

Estimating population size is the basic objective of many animal monitoring programs. The capture-recapture method is used to take a count on the repeated sampling of distinctively marked animals. However, this could be a challenge as it is an expensive process affecting animal behavior. This could sometimes prejudice the population estimates. Must read What would happen in an Ecosystem without Herbivores?

4. Which Animals are taken for Capture-Recapture?

The sample of animals is captured, counted, and marked in some way. These are released and allowed to mix with the population. The second sample is taken afterward. The population can be measured from the proportion of marked animals in the second sample. 

The population size of small mammals in an area is estimated with the help of the marked-release recapture technique. This knowledge is individually useful for animals, especially those with shells, such as snails, and for animals that have limbs or lobsters, such as woodlice. However, it can also be done to small mammals using traps. 

5. What is a Migration?

Photo by Richard Lee on Unsplash

Migration is a type of movement that changes the population size. Migration is the usual movement of an individual or population done every year. The main idea of migration is to find food, mates, and other resources. This is found in the northern hemisphere, where birds migrate thousands of miles south every fall. They migrate to areas where the weather is warmer and a lot of resources are available. They come back to the north during spring for nesting. (See Where do Birds Sleep at Night?)

6. What are the Uses of Capture-recapture Method?

Capture-recapture methods are used, especially when estimating animal populations.

  • Capture-recapture methods are developed for calculating the entire individual estimate.
  • It calculates the size of the closed animal populations.
  • This procedure is done one at a time to capture, release, and tag as many animals as possible.
  • The animals captured in each sample are common to both. They are used to estimate the number in the total population.
  • This capture-recapture method is used to find out if any individual is injured, hurt, or has any diseases.

A question is always posed to gather details about the situation of endangered or extinct animal populations. How many animals are there in the population? is the most frequently asked question. Does that individual population remain the same or grow over time? Only if you follow the process of capturing and recapturing, you can respond to these problems.

The goal of this article was to demonstrate how recapturing and capturing operate. Hope you learned about what is capture-recapture method, the advantages and disadvantages of the capture mark-recapture method, and also whether are capture-recapture method not accurate. (Also read What are Behavioral Adaptation of Animals?)

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