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Hunting of red fox Vulpes vulpes in the SPA Havellaendisches Luch in favour of great bustard Otis tarda Bejagung des Rotfuchses Vulpes vulpes im NSG Havellaendisches Luch Brandenburg zugunsten der Grosstrappe Otis tarda



Hunting of red fox Vulpes vulpes in the SPA Havellaendisches Luch in favour of great bustard Otis tarda Bejagung des Rotfuchses Vulpes vulpes im NSG Havellaendisches Luch Brandenburg zugunsten der Grosstrappe Otis tarda



Vogelwelt 1264: 341-345



After a dramatic decline of the Great Bustard in two Special Protection Areas (SPA) in Brandenburg a control of the local Red Fox populations was aspired. From 1993 to 2002 hunters were paid for each killed fox; data on numbers, sex and age of the foxes were collected. Initially, the hunting bags increased to a maximum of 3.5 foxes shot per 100 ha in 1996, but decreased since 2000 to 0.25/100 ha in 2003, when the premium system had been suspended. Such a decline could be also observed in the whole country of Brandenburg. The average annual loss of adult Great Bustards decreased from 38% (1990-1995) to 14% during the last five years, but predation was not the only cause of these losses. A clear correlation between intensified fox hunting forced by a premium system and the population development of Great Bustards could not be found. Other wildlife management projects for Great Bustards, like in Hungary, include a more intensive predator control carried out by professional hunters. This has led to an increase in the local population of this threatened species. In our study area hunting is practised by private hunters only; 75% of the whole hunting bag had been delivered by only 39% of these hunters. Although traps for catching fox puppies had been offered, just a few had been used. Furthermore, the hunters did not bring dogs into action for searching and hunting foxes at their dens. Our results indicate that professional hunters only can reach the aim of an effective predator control.

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