Changes in red fox habitat preference and rest site fidelity following a disease-induced population decline
The habitat preferences of red foxesVulpes vulpes (Linnaeus, 1758) in Bristol, UK, were compared during periods of high and low population density following an outbreak of sarcoptic mange (Sarcoptes scabiei). These periods are termed ‘pre-epizootic’ and ‘post-epizootic’, respectively. Habitat preferences were compared between periods during nocturnal activity and diurnal inactivity using compositional analysis. Back gardens were the most preferred habitat for pre-epizootic foxes during periods of activity; back gardens and allotment/woodland habitats were equally preferred by post-epizootic foxes, with a trend for allotment/woodland to be the most favoured. During periods of inactivity, pre-epizootic foxes selected back gardens for diurnal rest sites, compared with allotments/woodland in the post-epizootic period. Post-epizootic foxes also showed a significant decrease in rest sitefidelity, such that they were very unlikely to re-use a rest site more than once. In comparison, pre-epizootic foxes were often very faithful to one or a small number of sites. Such changes in habitat preference and rest site fidelity could have been facilitated by: (1) changes in food availability, (2) a decrease in intra-specific competition, (3) the requirements of defending larger territories post-epizootic, or (4) an avoidance of habitats that might increase the likelihood of mange transmission. The management implications of these results are discussed.
- Adkins C. A. and Stott P. 1998. Home ranges, movements and habitat associations of red foxesVulpes vulpes in suburban Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Journal of Zoology 244: 335–346.
- Aebischer N. J. and Robertson P. A. 1992. Practical aspects of compositional analysis as applied to pheasant habitat utilisation. [In: Wildlife telemetry: remote monitoring and tracking of animals. I. G. Priede and S. M. Swift, eds]. Ellis Horwood Ltd, Chichester UK: 285–293.
- Aebischer N. J., Robertson P. A. and Kenward R. E. 1993. Compositional analysis of habitat use from animal radio-tracking data. Ecology 74: 1313–1325.
- Arlian L. G., Vyszenski-Moher D. L. and Pole M. J. 1989. Survival of adults and developmental stages ofSarcoptes scabiei var.canis when off the host. Experimental and Applied Acarology 6: 181–187.
- Baker P. J. 1995. Factors affecting group formation in an urban foxVulpes vulpes population. PhD thesis, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK: 1–237.
- Baker P. J., Funk S. M., Harris S. and White P. C. L. 2000. Flexible spatial organisation of urban foxes, Vulpes vulpes, before and during an outbreak of sarcoptic mange. Animal Behaviour 59: 127–146.View ArticlePubMed
- Baker P. J., Harris S., Robertson C. P. J., Saunders G. and White P. C. L. 2001. Differences in the capture rate of cage-trapped red foxesVulpes vulpes and an evaluation of rabies control measures in Britain. Journal of Applied Ecology 38: 823–835.
- Brochier B., Kieny M. P., Costy F., Coppens P., Baudin B., Lecocq J. P., Languet B., Chappuis G., Desmettre P., Afiademanyo K., Libois R. and Pastoret P. P. 1991. Large-scale eradication of rabies using recombinant vaccinia-rabies virus. Nature 354: 520–522.View ArticlePubMed
- Bruyère V., Vuillaume P., Cliquet F. and Aubert M. 2000. Oral rabies vaccination of foxes with one or two delayed distributions of SAG2 baits during the spring. Veterinary Research 31: 339–345.View ArticlePubMed
- Butler J. M. and Roper T. J. 1996. Ectoparasites and sett use in European badgers. Animal Behaviour 52: 621–629.
- Caughley G. 1994. Directions in conservation biology. Journal of Animal Ecology 63: 215–244.
- Cavallini P. and Lovari S. 1994. Home range, habitat selection and activity of the red fox in a Mediterranean coastal ecotone. Acta Theriologica 39: 279–287.
- Christensen H. 1985. Urban fox population in Oslo. Revue D’Ecologie (Terre Vie) 40: 185–186.
- Cluff H. D. and Murray D. L. 1995. Review of wolf control methods in North America. [In: Ecology and conservation of wolves in a changing world. L. N. Carbyn, S. H. Fritts and D. R. Seip, eds]. Canadian Circumpolar Institute, Alberta, Canada: 491–504.
- Coman B. J., Robinson J. and Beaumont C. 1991. Home range, dispersal and density of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Central Victoria. Wildlife Research 18: 215–223.
- Diedrich S. and Hentschke J. 2000. Investigations of rabies in Berlin and the effect of oral immunisation of foxes. Tierarztliche Umschau 55: 59–64.
- Doncaster C. P. and Macdonald D. W. 1991. Ecology and ranging behaviour of red foxes in the city of Oxford. Hystrix 3: 11–20.
- Flamand A., Coulon P., Lafay F., Kappeler A., Artois M., Aubert M., Blancou J. and Wandeler A. I. 1992. Eradication of rabies in Europe. Nature 360: 115–116.View ArticlePubMed
- Fleming P. J. S. 1997. Uptake of baits by red foxes (Vulpes vulpes): implications for rabies contingency planning in Australia. Wildlife Research 24: 335–346.
- Gerasimov Y. A. 1958. Mange in wild red foxes. [In: Translation of Russian game reports]. Canadian Department of Northern Affairs National Resources, Ottawa, Canada: 70–85.
- Harris S. 1977. Distribution, habitat utilisation and age structure of a suburban fox (Vulpes vulpes) population. Mammal Review 7: 25–39.
- Harris S. 1978. Age determination in the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) — an evaluation of technique efficiency as applied to a sample of suburban foxes. Journal of Zoology, London 184: 91–117.
- Harris S. 1980. Home ranges and patterns of distribution of foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in an urban area, as revealed by radio tracking. [In: A handbook on biotelemetry and radio-tracking. C. J. Amlaner and D. W. Macdonald, eds]. Pergamon Press, Oxford: 685–690.
- Harris S., Cheeseman C. L., Smith G. C. and Trewhella W. J. 1992. Rabies contingency planning in Britain. [In: Wildlife rabies contingency planning in Australia. P. O’Brien and G. Berry, eds]. Bureau of Rural Resources Proceeding No. 11, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra: 63–77.
- Harris S. and Rayner J. M. V. 1986. Urban fox (Vulpes vulpes) population estimates and habitat requirements in several British cities. Journal of Animal Ecology 55: 575–591.
- Harris S. and Smith G. C. 1987. The use of sociological data to explain the distribution and numbers ofurban foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in England and Wales. Symposia of the Zoological Society of London 58: 313–328.
- Harris S. and Trewhella W. J. 1988. An analysis of some of the factors affecting dispersal in an urban fox (Vulpes vulpes) population. Journal of Applied Ecology 25: 409–422.
- Hofer S., Gloor S., Müller U., Mathis A., Hegglin D. and Deplazes P. 2000. High prevalence ofEchinococcus multilocularis in urban red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and voles (Arvicola terrestris) in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Parasitology 120: 135–142.View ArticlePubMed
- Jenkins D. J. and Craig N. A. 1992. The role of foxesVulpes-vulpes in the epidemiology ofEchinococcus-granulosus in urban environments. Medical Journal of Australia 157: 754–756.PubMed
- Kenward R. E and Hodder K. H. 1996. Ranges V: An analysis system for biological location data. Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Wareham Dorset: 1–69.
- Kolb H. H. 1985. Habitat use by foxes in Edinburgh. Revue D’Ecologie (Terre Vie) 40: 139–143.
- Krebs C. J. 1989. Ecological methodology. Harper Collins, New York: 1–654.
- Lewis J. C., Sallee K. L. and Golightly R. T. 1999. Introduction and range expansion of nonnative red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in California. American Midland Naturalist 142: 372–381.
- Lucherini M., Lovaris S. and Crema G. 1995. Habitat use and ranging behaviour of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in a Mediterranean rural area: is shelter availability a key factor? Journal of Zoology, London 237: 577–591.
- Macdonald D. W. 1980. Rabies and wildlife, a biologist’s perspective. Oxford University Press, New York: 1–151.
- Marks C. A. and Bloomfield T. E. 1999. Bait uptake by foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in urban Melbourne: the potential of oral vaccination for rabies control. Wildlife Research 26: 777–787.
- Marks C. A., Nijk M., Gigliotti F., Buscina F. and Short R. V. 1996. Preliminary field assessment of a cabergoline baiting campaign for the reproductive control of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes). Wildlife Research 23: 161–168.
- Newman T. J. 2001. Disease dynamics: the effect of sarcoptic mange on a population of red foxes. PhD thesis, Bristol University, Bristol, UK: 1–197.
- Pavlović I., Kulišić Z. and Milutinović M. 1997. The role of foxes (Vulpes vulpes L.) in the epizootiology and epidemiology of nematode parasitic zoonoses. Acta Veterinaria (Beograd) 47: 177–182.
- Ryan B. F. and Joiner B. L. 1994. Minitab Handbook, 3rd edn. Duxbury Press, Belmont, California: 1–448.
- Saunders G., Coman B., Kinnear J. and Braysher M. 1995. Managing vertebrate pests: foxes. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra: 1–141.
- Saunders G. and Harris S. 2000. Evaluation of attractants and bait preferences of the captive red fox (Vulpes vulpes). Wildlife Research 27: 237–243.
- Saunders G., White P. C. L. and Harris S. 1997. Habitat utilisation by urban foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and the implications for rabies control. Mammalia 61: 497–510.
- Saunders G., White P. C. L., Harris S. and Rayner J. M. V. 1993. Urban foxes (Vuples vulpes): food acquisition, time and energy budgeting of a generalized predator. Symposia of the Zoological Society of London 65: 215–234.
- Schöffel V. I., Schein E., Wittstadt U. and Hentsche J. 1991. Zur Parasitenfauna des Rotfuchses in Berlin (West). Berliner und Münchener Tierärztliche Wochenschrift 104: 153–157.PubMed
- Smith G. C. 1995. Modelling rabies control in the UK: the inclusion of vaccination. Mammalia 59: 629–637.
- Smith G. C. and Harris S. 1991. Rabies in urban foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Britain: the use of a spatial stochastic simulation model to examine the pattern of spread and evaluate the efficacy of different control régimes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 334: 459–479.
- Thompson P. C., Marlow N. J., Rose K. and Kok N. E. 2000. The effectiveness of a large-scale baiting campaign and an evaluation of a buffer zone strategy for fox control. Wildlife Research 27: 465–472.
- Trewhella W. J., Harris S., Smith G. C. and Nadian A. K. 1991. A field trial evaluating bait uptake by an urban fox (Vulpes vulpes) population. Journal of Applied Ecology 28: 454–466.
- Tsukada H., Morishima Y., Nonaka N., Oku Y. and Kamiya M. 2000. Preliminary study of the role of red foxes inEchinococcus multilocularis transmission in the urban area of Sapporo, Japan. Parasitology 120: 423–428.View ArticlePubMed
- Willingham A. L., Ockens N. W., Kapel C. M. O. and Monrad J. 1996. A helminthological survey of wild red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) from the metropolitan area of Copenhagen. Journal of Helminthology 70: 259–263.View ArticlePubMed
- Zeller G., Kant J. and Lotsch D. 1990. Fox rabies in various urban districts of the former GDR — development and significance to endangerment of domestic animals. Monatshefte für Veterinarmedizin 45: 720–725.