, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 231-240

Habitat preferences of the native badger and the invasive raccoon dog in southern Finland

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Abstract

We compared the habitat preferences of the alien raccoon dog Nyctereutes procyonoides (Gray, 1834) and the native badger Meles meles (Linnaeus, 1758) in two areas (Ruissalo and Tuulos) in southern Finland by radio-tracking the animals during summer from 2005 to 2008. We assumed that the habitat preferences of these two medium-sized carnivores differ to some extent (ie they are able to share the resources), because they have been sympatric for more than 50 years in southern Finland and populations of both species have increased during that period. The results indicated that the habitat preferences of these species are indeed different: raccoon dogs favoured meadows, gardens and open woodlands with tall and abundant undergrowth, whereas badgers favoured both pine forests and deciduous and mixed forests with thick canopy but sparse undergrowth. However, fields were favoured by both species in one study area (Tuulos). The results show that although both species are flexible in their habitat use and share some habitat preferences, the most favoured habitats differ between the species.

Associate editor Andrzej Zalewski.