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Swift Fox Symposium

Captive Breeding of Swift Fox at the Cochrane Wildlife Reserve

Clio Smeeton1 and Ken Weagle2. 1Cochrane Ecological Institute, P.O. Box 484, Cochrane, AB T0I 0W0. 2Centre for Rain Forest Studies, P.O. Box 141, Yungaburra, Australia QLD 4872.

During 1972 to 1994 Cochrane Ecological Institute (CEI) provided 557 animals to the swift fox reintroduction program. These were produced through the breeding of 96 animals of which 20 came directly from wild stock. The 169 litters produced averaged 3.3 kits per litter with a range of 1 to 7 kits. No apparent pattern could be found in relation to the impact of lineage, age or number of mates on fecundity. The maximum number of kits produced by a female was 35 and for a male was 35. Eighty-six percent of the litters produced at CEI were born between April 15 and May 16 with litters being whelped as late as June 26. Swift fox can produce in their first season with 19% of the females and 18% of the males which were one year old and mated with at least a two year old mate producing litters. Eleven percent of the pairs that were both one year old produced litters. Females did not produce litters after the age of eight years, but males produced litters to the age of 14 years.

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