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Risk taking by Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in a human-dominated landscape: effects of sex and reproductive status


Nils Bunnefeld. Current address: Division of Biology, Imperial College London, Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7PY, UK. Tel: +44-2075942494; Fax: +44-2075942308


This study aimed to test how the sex and reproductive status of Eurasian lynx influenced their use of ‘attractive sinks’– habitats with high prey density and high mortality risks. Locations of 24 Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx were obtained by radio-telemetry in a mixed forest and agricultural habitat in south-eastern Norway. Roe deer, the major food source of lynx in the study area, occurred at higher densities closer to areas of human activity and infrastructure. Proximity of lynx locations to human activity and infrastructure was used as a risk index because the most common causes of death among Scandinavian lynx were of anthropogenic origin. This study shows that distances from lynx locations to human activity were significantly greater for females with newborn kittens than for males, but this decreased with kitten age. The data suggest that this response to human activity is influenced by the reproductive strategies of males and females, and might explain male-biased human-induced mortality in this study and in carnivores more generally.