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The lynx in norrbotten mountainous regions norway from 1974 1983 the red and the arctic fox in the same area


, : The lynx in norrbotten mountainous regions norway from 1974 1983 the red and the arctic fox in the same area. Fauna och Flora Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet 79(5): 213-226

The Swedish lynx population has shown considerable fluctuations. In the middle of the 19th century there was a marked decrease probably resulting in complete extinction in the southern and central parts of the country. During a period of total protection, 1927-1942, the population recovered particularly in the north. In the 1950's and 1960's the species gradually adapted to the alpine region and semidomestic reindeer became important prey. For 10 consecutive years from 1974 the winter fauna of the alpine and northern boral region of the county of Norrbotten (42,000 sq. km) has been surveyed by snow-mobile patrols. The survey is based on track-counts in the snow and the material is used for analysis of the lynx population of this region and its relations to the red fox. The lynx is found mainly along the major river valleys and in some minor areas in the northern and southern parts. The population has decreased during the period 1974-1983. The number of reindeer killed by lynx has decreased during the 10 yr period. The method does not give information about the number of lynxes but it can be estimated to be no > 20 animals, far below the carrying capacity of the area. The decline does not seem to be related to changes in the abundance of any of the major prey species. The main prey, the reindeer, has increased steadily during the whole 10 yr period. The main reason for the decline of the lynx population is hunting pressure. Years with large numbers of lynxes shot are followed by years with drastically reduced numbers. A new hunting season of 1.5 mo. was introduced in 1983 and now the effect of this shorter season has to be awaited. Interspecific competition seems to occur between the lynx and the red fox. Red fox density in areas where lynx occurs is lower than in other fox areas.

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