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The Effect of Summer Feeding on Juvenile Arctic Fox Survival - a Field Experiment
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
1994 (English)In: Ecography, ISSN 0906-7590, E-ISSN 1600-0587, Vol. 17, no 1, 88-96 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The arctic fox Alopex lagopus L. population in Sweden is small and its numbers fluctuate widely with food availability, i.e. rodent populations. This fluctuation is mediated through differences in recruitment rates between years. The recruitment can be divided into three phases: number of litters born, number of cubs per litter and cub survival rates. The number of litters and their sizes have been shown to depend on food availability during winter and spring. To examine cub survival during the summer and how it relates to food availability, we conducted a feeding experiment in northern Sweden during 1990, a year of low rodent density, involving six occupied arctic fox dens. Feeding at dens lowered cub mortality rates. However, condition and growth rates of juveniles were not influenced by supplementary feeding at dens, nor were they related to the probability of survival for an individual. Thus arctic foxes seem to minimize risks rather than maximize growth. The juvenile mortality from weaning and over the next 6 wk was 21%, mostly due to starvation. Only 8.2% survived from weaning to the first breeding season. Of the one-year-old foxes, 50% survived their second year. Supplementary feeding of juveniles had no effect on the final survival rates over these two years. However, the immediate, positive effect on cub survival could be used in a long-term, extensive management programme if combined with winter feeding.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1994. Vol. 17, no 1, 88-96 p.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-29716DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.1994.tb00080.xScopusID: A1994ND62000010ISBN: 0906-7590OAI: diva2:234771
Available from: 2009-09-10 Created: 2009-09-10 Last updated: 2015-10-07Bibliographically approved

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