Spatial and temporal variation in natal dispersal by Eurasian lynx in Scandinavia



Gustaf Samelius, Grimsö Wildlife Research Station, Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-730 91 Riddarhyttan, Sweden. Tel: +46-581-697334; Fax: +46-581-697310



Dispersal patterns are male biased in most mammals whereas the patterns are less clear within the genus Lynx (four species), with findings ranging from male biased dispersal to males and females dispersing equally far and with equal frequency. In this study, we examined various aspects of natal dispersal by Eurasian lynx in Scandinavia by comparing dispersal patterns of 120 radio-marked lynx in two study areas in Sweden (Sarek and Bergslagen) and two study areas in Norway (Hedmark and Akershus). We found that male lynx dispersed farther than female lynx with mean dispersal distances of 148 and 47 km for male and female lynx that were followed to the age of 18 months or older (range = 32–428 and 3–215 km for each sex, respectively). In fact, female lynx often established home ranges that overlapped or partly overlapped that of their mothers. Similarly, the dispersal rate was greater among male lynx than among female lynx, with 100% of the males dispersing compared with 65% of the females dispersing. This study showed that dispersal patterns by lynx in Scandinavia were male biased, with (1) male lynx dispersing farther and more frequently than female lynx and (2) female lynx often settling near their natal areas. These patterns, in turn, will have large impact on gene flow and the ability by lynx to colonize new and formerly occupied areas.