Title

Survival and cause-specific mortality of gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) in southern California

Publication Date

2005

Journal or Book Title

JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY

Abstract

From May 1997 to July 1999, 24 gray foxes Urocyon cinereoargenteus were radio-marked and their fates monitored in a natural area of southern California to identify rates of survival and cause-specific mortality, and thus to assess population sustainability. Pup (0.4–1.0 years old) foxes had an 8-month (September–April) survival rate (0.34) that was lower than the 8-month (0.77) or 12-month (0.58) estimates for adult foxes. Interference competition was evident; 92% (11/12) of fox mortalities were the result of predation by sympatric coyotes Canis latrans or bobcats Felis rufus. Also, five of seven gray fox mortalities were outside of, or on the border of, the home range of the killed fox. Calculations indicated that the fox population would remain stable if survival of pups during their first 4 months of life was 0.68 (vs 0.75 for adults during these months and 0.58 for older pups for 4 other months). This seems reasonable, yet sympatric carnivores, mainly coyotes, clearly influence the gray fox population in southern California.

DOI

10.1017/S0952836905006850

Volume

266

Pages

249-254

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