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Swift Fox Symposium

Historical and Recent Status of the Swift Fox in Montana

Craig J. Knowles1, Pamela R. Knowles1, Brian Giddings2, and Arnold R. Dood2. 1FaunaWest Wildlife consultants, PO Box 113 Boulder, MT 59632. 2Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, 1420 E 6th Ave., Helena, MT 59620.

Early records of the swift fox (Vulpes velox) in Montana indicate that it was common and widespread on the prairie grasslands east of the Rocky Mountains. There were no records of swift foxes in Montana from 1918 to 1978, suggesting that the swift fox might have been extirpated from Montana at some point during this period. Since 1978, there have been more than 30 confirmed and unconfirmed observations of swift foxes in Montana. Recent records and sightings of swift foxes are grouped in southeastern and north-central Montana. Presumably, these observations represent dispersing individuals from populations outside of Montana but recent evidence from north-central Montana suggests that a small resident population now exists in this area.

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