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1 January 2004 Indexing Swift Fox Populations in New Mexico Using Scats
ROBERT L. HARRISON, PATRICK-GABRIEL S. CLARKE, CHRISTINE M. CLARKE
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Abstract

We examined collection of scats (feces) as a survey method for indexing statewide populations of swift foxes (Vulpes velox). We searched for scats on 99 transects throughout the range of swift foxes in New Mexico. Swift fox scats were found on 79.8% of transects. Scats confirmed by DNA analysis to have originated from swift foxes were found on 59.6% of transects. Statistical power was sufficient to detect a 20% decline in the proportion of transects with swift fox scats or a 7% decline in the total number of scats collected over the entire range. The proportion of transects with scats and the total number of scats collected may be useful as indices of relative swift fox population abundance. Average number of scats found per collection site was not found to be a useful index due to large variations between sites in the numbers of scats found. Confirmation of swift fox presence by DNA analysis does not appear to be necessary for transects with >7 scats, as all transects with >7 scats had at least one confirmed swift fox scat. Collection of scats appears to be a useful technique for indexing populations of swift foxes in New Mexico.

ROBERT L. HARRISON, PATRICK-GABRIEL S. CLARKE, and CHRISTINE M. CLARKE "Indexing Swift Fox Populations in New Mexico Using Scats," The American Midland Naturalist 151(1), 42-49, (1 January 2004). https://doi.org/10.1674/0003-0031(2004)151[0042:ISFPIN]2.0.CO;2
Accepted: 1 July 2003; Published: 1 January 2004
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