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Swift Fox Symposium

Current Swift Fox (Vulpes velox) Distribution and Habitat Selection Within Areas of Historical Occurrence in New Mexico


Robert L. Harrison1 and C. Gregory Schmitt2. 1Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131. 2New Mexico Dept. of Game and Fish, P.O. Box 25112, Santa Fe, NM 98504.

The current population status of swift fox in New Mexico is not known. We surveyed the presence of swift fox within their historical range in New Mexico with scent stations, spotlighting, collected specimens, and New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and U.S.D.A. Animal Damage Control records. Swift fox presently occur throughout their historical range. However, we did not find swift fox in the cropland areas of Curry or eastern Roosevelt Counties. We also did not find swift fox in southeastern Quay County where grass was longer and shrubs were more abundant than in the rest of the study area. Swift fox in New Mexico prefer Bouteloua rangeland with low shrub density and grass length less than 30 cm. Rodent densities appear to be depressed in areas with swift foxes. Roadway type and number of fences and power lines are not important factors to swift fox distribution.


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