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Lynx Depredation on Domestic Sheep in Norway

John Odden, John D. C. Linnell, Pål Fossland Moa, Ivar Herfindal, Tor Kvam and Reidar Andersen
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 66, No. 1 (Jan., 2002), pp. 98-105
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3802876
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3802876
Page Count: 8
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Lynx Depredation on Domestic Sheep in Norway
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Abstract

We studied depredation rates on free-ranging domestic sheep (Ovis aries) by Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in 2 areas in Norway to test whether selected individuals or a demographic group within a lynx population kill a disproportionate share of livestock. During 6 grazing seasons from 1994 to 1999, we monitored 34 radiocollared lynx during 641 tracking periods (either all night or during a full 24-hr period). Sixty-three domestic sheep and 3 domestic goats were killed by radiocollared lynx during these periods. All of the radiocollared lynx had access to free-ranging domestic sheep within their annual home ranges. Male lynx killed sheep more frequently than females and were responsible for 12 out of 13 cases of surplus killing. After adjusting for number of nights monitored, sheep-killing rates among males differed slightly, whereas the differences between individual females were correlated with the number of sheep available. There were no indications of any special "problem individuals," but rather a "problem sex." Therefore, it seems to be intrinsic in their behavior that males are likely to kill domestic animals more frequently than females. The lack of specific problem individuals in this study might depend on the livestock-herding technique used in Norway, where sheep generally are free-ranging and unattended throughout a lynx's home range. Selective removal of depredating males requires that the gap in the social mosaic either remains unfilled or is filled by an individual that causes less damage to livestock. The effects of such removal on sheep depredation are likely to be only temporary since all adult and yearling male lynx appear to kill sheep.

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