Urban development can have multiple effects on mammalian carnivore communities. We conducted a meta-analysis of 7,929 photographs from 217 localities in 11 camera-trap studies across coastal southern California to describe habitat use and determine the effects of urban proximity (distance to urban edge) and intensity (percentage of area urbanized) on carnivore occurrence and species richness in natural habitats close to the urban boundary. Coyotes (Canis latrans) and bobcats (Lynx rufus) were distributed widely across the region. Domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris), striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis), raccoons (Procyon lotor), gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), mountain lions (Puma concolor), and Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) were detected less frequently, and long-tailed weasels (Mustela frenata), American badgers (Taxidea taxus), western spotted skunks (Spilogale gracilis), and domestic cats (Felis catus) were detected rarely. Habitat use generally reflected availability for most species. Coyote and raccoon occurrence increased with both proximity to and intensity of urbanization, whereas bobcat, gray fox, and mountain lion occurrence decreased with urban proximity and intensity. Domestic dogs and Virginia opossums exhibited positive and weak negative relationships, respectively, with urban intensity but were unaffected by urban proximity. Striped skunk occurrence increased with urban proximity but decreased with urban intensity. Native species richness was negatively associated with urban intensity but not urban proximity, probably because of the stronger negative response of individual species to urban intensity.
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Vol. 91 • No. 6