The nature reserve Serra da Malcata, Portugal, was recently considered a site for Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) reintroduction. Because of potential disease risk posed by red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in the area, a reliable estimate of fox abundance was critical for a dependable reintroduction program. We adapted camera-trapping techniques for estimating red fox abundance in the reserve. From July 2005 to August 2007, we conducted 7 camera-trapping sessions, allowing for individual identification of foxes by physical characteristics. We estimated abundance using the heterogeneity (Mh) model of the software program CAPTURE. Estimated density ranged from 0.91 ± 0.12 foxes/km2 to 0.74 ± 0.02 foxes/km2. By estimating red fox density, it is possible to define the number of foxes that must be sampled to assess the presence of potential fox-transmitted diseases that may affect lynx reintroduction.
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Vol. 73 • No. 7