Date of this Version
Dougherty, K. (2019). Relative Density and Resource Selection of Urban Red Foxes in Lincoln, Nebraska (Masters thesis).
Since early reports of urban red fox (Vulpes vulpes) populations in Great Britain, red fox populations have been studied in many large cities throughout Europe, North America, and Australia. However, there has been relatively little research conducted in moderately sized North American cities. To further the ecological understanding of red foxes in moderately sized cities, we investigated relative density and resource selection of the urban fox population in Lincoln, Nebraska. We used presence-only data collected from a citizen science project and inhomogeneous point process models to investigate relative density of urban foxes and deployed GPS collars on ten red foxes to investigate home range size, resource selection, and activity patterns. Our results indicate fox density is highly dependent upon developed open spaces, such as parks, golf course, and low-density residential areas. Further, we observed red foxes selecting developed open spaces and herbaceous areas, with activity being high through the majority of the night and peaking in the early morning. Together, our results indicate that developed open spaces and herbaceous areas are important habitat types for urban foxes. In these areas, red foxes are likely able to benefit from anthropogenic food subsidies and avoid predation by coyotes while minimizing the costs of living within urban areas, such as disturbance from human activity and mortality risk associated with roads. Our results and conclusions are consistent with much of the existing literature on urban foxes in other cities throughout the world, suggesting that red fox ecology in moderately sized North American cities is similar to that of foxes in other urban areas around the world.
Advisor: Elizabeth VanWormer