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Foraging of lynxes in a managed boreal-alpine environment

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Foraging of Eurasian lynxes Lynx lynx was studied with telemetry and snow tracking in central Norway. In all habitats and at all seasons, medium-sized ungulates (roe deer Capreolus capreolus, reindeer Rangifer tarandus and domestic sheep Ovis aries) dominated the diet (81% of ingested biomass estimated from faeces). Mountain hares Lepus timidus and galliform birds comprised the remainder of the diet (15% and 3%, respectively). Lynxes with different life history status did not differ in prey choice, but adult males utilised carcasses of ungulate prey considerably less (16% of the edible parts) than did females with offspring (80%) and subadults (58%). Forest habitats in lowlands and adjacent to cultivated fields were the most favourable foraging habitats (indexed as the prey encounter rate per km lynx track) primarily owing to the presence of roe deer. Two family groups tracked in winter killed 0.2 ungulate per day. The importance of agricultural land as a foraging habitat and the dominance of livestock in the diet in remoter areas indicate that the lynx has responded to agriculture and reindeer husbandry during the past century by switching from small game to ungulates.
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Document Type: Original Article

Publication date: June 1, 2000

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