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Polar Biology

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 93–98 | Cite as

Local variation in arctic fox abundance on Svalbard, Norway

  • Eva Fuglei
  • Nils Are Øritsland
  • Pål Prestrud
Original Paper
  • 189 Downloads

Abstract

Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) numbers vary greatly, with cyclic fluctuations often associated with fluctuations in microtine rodents. However, in areas where small prey mammals are absent, such as Iceland and Svalbard, such cyclic fluctuations are lacking. Annual fluctuations in the density of the arctic fox population on the Brøggerhalvøya peninsula and Kongsfjorden region on Svalbard, Norway, were studied from 1990 to 2001 by using indices of fox abundance. All indices showed similar trends; fox numbers were low in 1990, increased until 1995 whereupon they decreased sharply, before increasing again and levelling off in 2001. Increasing numbers of foxes during the first part of the study paralleled increasing numbers of Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) carcasses in winter and increasing numbers of nesting barnacle geese (Branta leucopsis) in summer. This study shows that the number of arctic foxes varies greatly even in areas without fluctuating microtine rodents.

Keywords

Rabies Barnacle Goose Microtine Rodent Reindeer Population Svalbard Reindeer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank E. Johansen, K. Fossan, E. Molstad, N.M. Molstad (deceased), G. Christensen, S. Onarheim, A. Grimnaes, T.I. Karlsen, B.A. Nymoen, Ø. Blia, and S. Coulson for assistance capturing of some of the foxes and/or providing information about observation of foxes in the study area. We are grateful to Drs. A. Derocher, K. Frafjord, I.M. Tombre, M.J.J.E. Loonen and R.A. Ims for constructive and critical comments on the manuscript. The Governor of Svalbard and Kings Bay gave permission to capture arctic foxes on Brøggerhalvøya. All capture and handling methods were approved by the Norwegian Animal Welfare Act, with permission from the Norwegian National Animal Research Authority.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva Fuglei
    • 1
  • Nils Are Øritsland
    • 2
  • Pål Prestrud
    • 1
  1. 1.Norwegian Polar InstituteTromsøNorway
  2. 2.Outhere ASOsteraasNorway

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