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Swift Fox Symposium

Swift Fox Mortality in Grassland and Cropland Landscapes of Western Kansas

Marsha A. Sovada1, Christiane C. Roy2, and Robert O. Woodward1. 1Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, US Geological Survey, 8711 37th St. SE, Jamestown, ND 58401. 2Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, 1830 Merchant, PO Box 1525, Emporia, KS 66801.

We used radio telemetry techniques to examine the magnitude and causes of mortality of swift fox (Vulpes velox) populations in 2 study areas in western Kansas. One study area was predominantly cropland, the other rangeland. Mortality rates, using Kaplan-Meier estimation techniques in a staggered entry design, were 0.55 (SE=0.08) for adult and 0.67 (SE=0.08) for juvenile swift foxes. We did not detect differences between study areas in mortality rates for adults (P=0.52) or juveniles (P=0.17). Predation by coyotes was the major cause of mortality for adult and juvenile swift foxes in both study areas. Vehicle collision was an important mortality factor for juveniles in the cropland study area. No mortality was attributed to starvation or disease.

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