In order to understand dispersal behaviour and its population consequences, we captured 136 raccoon dog Nyctereutes procyonoides pups (i.e. < 1 year old) in northeastern Germany (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania). We ear-tagged all animals and additionally fitted 48 of them with radio-collars. There were findings of 59 (43.4%) animals and the mean distance from the marking point was 13.5 km ± 20.1 (SD). Dispersal mortality rate was 69.5% among young raccoon dogs. Most animals (55.9%) were recovered < 5 km from the marking place, whereas only 8.5% of the records were > 50 km from the marking point. The distances of the dispersal did not differ between sexes. Most (53.7%) records of ear-tagged young raccoon dogs were made in August and September, and only 34.1% were recorded during October-April. Hunting (55%) and traffic (27%) were the major mortality criteria. Most radio-collared young raccoon dogs dispersed between July and September. The mean natal home-range size (MCP 100) with and without excursion was 502.6 ha ± 66.4 (SD; N = 9) and 92.1 ha ± 66.4 (N = 17). There were no differences between males and females in the month of dispersal. Raccoon dogs dispersed into all directions with distances varying between 0.5 km and 91.2 km. Radio-collared, dispersing animals showed a variety of movement patterns and the impression of flexible migration behaviour was confirmed. The fact that males and females showed equal dispersing behaviour is supposed to be one of the factors contributing to the high expansion and the success of the species.
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Vol. 16 • No. 2