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Reproduction and denning by urban and rural San Clemente Island foxes (Urocyon littoralis clementae)

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Island foxes (Urocyon littoralis (Baird, 1858)) have experienced severe reductions in populations on 4 out of 6 California Channel Islands. Although numbers of foxes on San Clemente Island (SCLI; Urocyon littoralis clementae Merriam, 1903) have remained relatively stable, data on reproductive success in urban and rural areas are necessary to better understand population dynamics of foxes and manage the population if it sustains declines. Determining locations and characteristics of den sites will also assist in minimizing possible impacts of humans on foxes. We found that 10 female foxes produced at least 19 kits during 2008. Female foxes that spent a greater proportion of time within an urban area had greater probability of reproducing compared with foxes that infrequently utilized urban areas. However, these “urban” foxes often selected den sites nearer to roads, which may expose them to increased mortalities. We located 23 den sites on a mean of 17°–18° slopes with 40% having westerly facing aspects. We recommend avoiding human disturbance to these areas from February through June, which may minimize potential impacts on foxes. Our study should provide insight into managing island foxes, especially in respect to urban areas on other Channel Islands.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-10-16

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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