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Survival and causes of death of European Roe Deer before and after Eurasian Lynx reintroduction in the Bavarian Forest National Park

Abstract

The return of the Eurasian Lynx to Central Europe has led to a number of conflicts. A primary subject of discussion involves its predation on other wildlife species. Here, we investigated the influence of lynx on its main prey, Roe Deer, in the Bavarian Forest National Park in south-eastern Germany. We compared the survival rates of deer before and after reintroduction of lynx. The analysis is based on data from 1984 to 1988 and 2005 to 2008 of 88 and 99 radio-collared Roe Deer, respectively. During the first period, 35 deer deaths were documented; during the second period, 41 deaths were documented. The causes of death in the second period were lynx 44%, road kill 15%, hunting 12%, and other causes 29%. We used the Cox model to determine the influence of covariables on the hazard rate, which made it possible to consider interactions between the variables. The resulting model includes the four main effects sex, age, presence of lynx, and severity of first winter, and the three interactions—presence of lynx:sex, age:severity of first winter, and sex:severity of first winter, which had a statistically significant influence on Roe Deer survival.

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Acknowledgements

This study is part of a project on the predator–prey relationship of Eurasian Lynx, Red Deer, and Roe Deer carried out by the Bavarian Forest National Park Administration, Department of Research and Documentation. GPS collaring and behavioural observations complied with German laws. Financial support was provided by the EU Programme INTERREG IV (EFRE Ziel 3), T-mobile, and the Bavarian Forest National Park Administration. We kindly thank Horst Burghart, Martin Gahbauer, Helmut Penn, Michael Penn, Rüdiger Fischer, and Lothar Ertl for technical support. We also thank Karen A. Brune for language editing.

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Correspondence to Marco Heurich.

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Communicated by C. Gortázar

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Heurich, M., Möst, L., Schauberger, G. et al. Survival and causes of death of European Roe Deer before and after Eurasian Lynx reintroduction in the Bavarian Forest National Park. Eur J Wildl Res 58, 567–578 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-011-0606-y

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Keywords

  • European Roe Deer
  • Eurasian Lynx
  • Survival
  • Predation
  • Mortality
  • Lynx lynx
  • Capreolus capreolus