1 Department of Bioscience - Arctic Ecosystem Ecology, Department of Bioscience, Science and Technology, Aarhus University2 Department of Bioscience - Arctic Ecosystem Ecology, Department of Bioscience, Science and Technology, Aarhus University
4. Diet and Predatory Behavior of Lynx in Sweden CHARLOTTE MOSHØJ1,2 1University of Copenhagen Department of Population Ecology, Zoological Institute Universitetsparken 15 DK-2100 Copenhagen Denmark email@example.com 2Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Department of Conservation Biology Grimsø Wildlife Research Station (SLU) 73091 Riddarhyttan Sweden Aided by legal protection, the Scandinavian lynx (Lynx lynx) population has increased to about 2,500 lynxes. This increasing lynx population has led to intensified conflicts with livestock owners, reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) herders and hunters who fear predation on livestock and reindeer as well as a general reduction in wild game abundance, especially roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). Prey spectrum and predation of lynx was studied based on stomach analyses of lynx throughout Sweden and on data from a field study in south-central Sweden where radio-collared lynx were tracked during 1997–1999. Three hundred lynx stomachs were analyzed, and 19 lynx were radio-tracked for a total of 386 days registering 1,477 radio-tracking positions, 183 km of lynx tracks, 40 hunting sequences and 102 lynx kills. On a nationwide scale, ungulates (reindeer and roe deer) comprised the greatest part of the diet, while a regional division indicated that while lynxes from northern regions had a narrower diet niche, they were in better condition than lynxes from south of the reindeer husbandry districts. Lynx gender and status also influenced diet, predation and condition, while temporal variations in prey density and availability affected seasonal predation rates, as well as between year variations and diet composition. Variable prey species and environmental factors, such as snow and the availability of cover, furthermore affected lynx predatory behavior and hunting success. Securing knowledge on lynx predation and impact on prey populations may aid in balancing conflicting concerns in management strategies for viable lynx populations and desired level of prey densities, in the multi-use semi-natural forest habitats of Scandinavia.