, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 1-13

Home ranges and densities of medium-sized carnivores in south-east Finland, with special reference to rabies spread

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Home ranges and densities of medium-sized carnivores were studied in south-east Finland by radio tracking. The species studied included potential vectors of rabies: the raccoon dogNyctereutes procyonoides (Gray, 1834), red foxVulpes vulpes (Linnaeus, 1758), European badgerMeles meles (Linnaeus, 1758) and domestic catFelis silvestris catus (Schreber, 1777). Home ranges of badgers were largest (mean 14.7 km2) and those of cats smallest (1.5 km2). Home ranges overlapped largely, both within and between species. Most home ranges were larger and population densities lower in south-east Finland compared with those in Western Europe. The pooled density of medium-sized carnivores with overlapping home ranges was, however, high, which may indicate a high risk of a rabies epizootic in this multi-host community. Rabies might also spread rapidly to new areas, because of the large home ranges and, consequently, long dispersal distances.

Associate Editor was Karol Zub.