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Swift Fox Symposium

The Reintroduction of Swift Fox to the West Block of Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Using Captive Bred Animals

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

In 1993, the reintroduction of swift fox to the West Block of Grasslands National Park began. Between 1993 and 1996, 94 captive bred swift fox were released into the park and the areas to the south of the park (Masefield Pasture). To reduce the initial mortality of the released animals, a method involving the use of Portable Protective Shelters was developed (PPS system). The use of the PPS system was shown to keep the animals in the general release area and thought to reduce the initial mortality that had been documented to be high. Monitoring data from the area from 1994 to 1997 has shown that the population has established itself and appears to be expanding from the immediate release area. No less than 10 den sites have been identified in the area, several of which have been documented to have produced kits. Although the actual population numbers are not determined and sustainable population level is unknown, the experiment has shown that captive bred animals alone can be successfully used to reintroduce swift fox to suitable habitat.

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