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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2006

Lynx (Lynx lynx) killing red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in boreal Sweden - frequency and population effects

Helldin JO, Liberg O, Gloersen G


We studied the frequency and pattern of lynx Lynx lynx predation on red foxes Vulpes vulpes in boreal Sweden by the radio tracking of foxes and the snow tracking of lynx. We also assessed the population trend of red foxes after the re-establishment of lynx in the region, based on various population indices. Fifty per cent of recorded fox mortalities in the radio-tracking study (four of eight) were lynx kills. Adult-sized foxes killed by lynx during radio tracking were in normal condition and of prime age, and were killed after the assumed annual population bottleneck. Albeit based on a small number of kills, this pattern may suggest that lynx predation, at least to some extent, is additive to other mortality in foxes. The annual lynx predation rate was 14% on radio-tracked foxes and 4% on snow-tracked foxes. The population indices of foxes in the main study area decreased by about 10% annually during the study period. The population decrease could potentially be explained by lynx predation alone, but we acknowledge some alternative explanations. Our results point out the possibility that red fox populations can be significantly limited by allowing lynx populations to recover

Published in

Journal of Zoology
2006, Volume: 270, number: 4, pages: 657-663

    SLU Authors

    • Helldin, Jan Olof

      • Swedish Biodiversity Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
      • Liberg, Olof

        • Department of Conservation Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

      Publication Identifiers


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