Australian Mammalogy Australian Mammalogy Society
Journal of the Australian Mammal Society
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Short-term tracking of three red foxes in the Simpson Desert reveals large home-range sizes

T. M. Newsome A B C D E , E. E. Spencer B and C. R. Dickman B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Centre for Integrative Ecology, Deakin University, Geelong (Burwood Campus), Vic. 3125, Australia.

B Desert Ecology Research Group, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

C Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.

D School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, The University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.

E Corresponding author. Email: t.newsome@deakin.edu.au

Australian Mammalogy 39(2) 238-242 https://doi.org/10.1071/AM16037
Submitted: 2 August 2016  Accepted: 16 September 2016   Published: 4 November 2016

Abstract

The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is probably the most intensively studied introduced predator in Australia, but little is known about its movements in arid areas. Here, we report on the home-range sizes of one male and two female red foxes that were tracked for 2–8 months using collars fitted with ARGOS transmitters in the Simpson Desert, central Australia. Based on the 100% Minimum Convex Polygon method, home-range sizes were 5723 ha, 50 158 ha, and 12 481 ha, respectively. Based on the 95% kernel contour method, home-range sizes were 3930 ha, 26 954 ha, and 12 142 ha, respectively. These home-range sizes are much larger than any recorded previously from elsewhere in Australia, suggesting that red foxes in the Simpson Desert need to roam over extensive areas to find enough resources to meet their energetic needs. Given that predation by red foxes poses a key threat to many small and medium-sized native mammals, we suggest that red fox control operations may need to be undertaken at very large spatial scales to be effective in arid areas.

Additional keywords: invasive species, mesopredator, spatial ecology.


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