RISKMAN – A Wildlife Simulation Model

Northwest Territories Department of Resources, Wildlife & Economic Development and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

Working closely with the Northwest Territories Wildlife Department and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, ESSA designed and developed RISKMAN, a sophisticated model for risk management of wildlife populations. Features of this model which distinguished it from previous modelling efforts included: the ability to simulate pulse-breeders (such as bears) rather than only annual breeders; simulation based on life-table dynamics rather than Leslie matrix (life tables are truer representations of data most often collected for wildlife populations); direct incorporation of stochasticity both from uncertainties associated with data used in simulations, and from natural random variations associated with birth and mortality dynamics; direct link to management and population forecasting and; a state-of-the-art user interface including run-time graphics and grid-based entry. The model produces both tabular and advanced graphical output.

In a final phase of this project, ESSA was engaged to develop a context-sensitive on-line help facility for the application. In addition to clear, concise, and comprehensive textual explanations of how the system functions, the help file contains screen captures, graphs, and two technical background papers that describe the structure of the system and enable users to better understand and interpret their results.