Adapt or perish: how the Iberian lynx reintroduction affects fox abundance and behaviour
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Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e das Florestas. Centro Polivalente de Divulgação da Casa do Lanternim.
Departamento de Biologia and CESAM, Universidade de Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago.
Online publication date: 2021-03-15
Publication date: 2021-03-15
Corresponding author
Pedro Sarmento   

Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e das Florestas
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2021;32(1):48-54
The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) reintroduction in the Guadiana valley (Portugal) began in 2015. By 2019 more than 100 lynxes were in the wild, dispersed over 300 km2 . The arrival of a new top predator (the lynx had been extinct from this region for decades) may have affected red fox populations (Vulpes vulpes) as a result of intraguild competition. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of the lynx reintroduction on the spatial, temporal and spatial-temporal dimensions of local fox abundance and behaviour. Camera trapping results revealed a clear decrease in fox abundance. Also, co-occurrence occupancy models indicated a higher probability of fox occupancy in areas where lynxes were absent, as well as a greater fox detectability in places where lynxes were absent, rather than in places where lynxes were present. In the temporal dimension, there were no significant effects on fox behaviour. However, the spatial-temporal dimension revealed a competitive exclusion since foxes avoided areas that had recently been used by lynxes.
Thanks to Jinpa Smith for the English revision.
This work was supported by the Life+ project “Recovery of the Historical Distribution for Iberian Lynx” (Lynx pardinus) in Spain and Portugal (LIFE10NAT/ES/570) co-funded by the European Commission. Thanks are due to Foundation of Science and Technology/Ministério da Ciência Tecnologia e Ensino Superior (FCT/ MCTES) for the financial support to CESAM (UIDP/50017/2020+UIDB/50017/2020), through national funds and to the project Selectpredators financed by national and European funds.
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