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Arctic Fox Responses to Tourism Activity
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6534-3819
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Number of Authors: 42020 (English)In: Journal of Wildlife Management, ISSN 0022-541X, E-ISSN 1937-2817Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

As the interest for nature-based tourism activities increases, it is important to provide evidence-based guidelines for wildlife-human interactions to minimize the disturbance caused to wildlife. In Fennoscandia, the endangered arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) is subject to increasing tourism interest and some regions recommend a minimum approach distance of 300 m, but the guidelines have not been scientifically validated. We conducted experimental human approaches towards arctic fox den sites to study activity and behavioral changes in response to the approaching observer. The first arctic foxes hid when approached within 300 m, but many had increased their vigilance already at the start distance of 500 m. At approximately 200 m, the hiding probability increased rapidly at dens disturbed and undisturbed by tourism activities. Arctic foxes at disturbed dens allowed the observer to approach more closely before they increased their vigilance and before they hid compared to foxes at undisturbed dens. We confirm that a minimum distance of 300 m might be sufficient for most arctic foxes to refrain from hiding, but a longer distance would be required to avoid causing any disturbance. We recommend a minimum approach distance of >= 300 m to be implemented in all Fennoscandian regions inhabited by the arctic fox.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2020.
Keywords [en]
arctic fox, human disturbance, human-wildlife interaction, minimum approach distance, nature-based tourism, wildlife tourism
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-179523DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.21827ISI: 000510757500001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-179523DiVA, id: diva2:1412905
Available from: 2020-03-09 Created: 2020-03-09 Last updated: 2020-03-09

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Larm, MalinAngerbjörn, Anders
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