The year-round food habits of lynx were studied using radio-telemetry and snow-tracking in the boreal forest of southeastern Norway. The main objectives of the study were to clarify the importance of domestic sheep and small prey species in the diet of lynx in an area with a very low density of roe deer. During the period 1995–1999, we found 193 scats and 358 kills made by lynx. Our results indicate that roe deer were the most common prey species (contributing to 83 and 34% of the biomass consumed in winter and summer, respectively), although a wide range of other species were also found, including mountain hares, tetranoids, red foxes, domestic sheep, wild reindeer, and even moose. Most of the diet was obtained by predation, although we did document several cases of scavenging. Roe deer were more important in the diet in winter than in summer, perhaps because they were easier to locate in winter as they clustered around feeding sites. In summer, domestic sheep and small prey increased in importance. Despite the very low density of roe deer in this study area, lynx seemed to still specialise on them, although domestic sheep did constitute a significant amount to their diet, especially for males and yearlings. However, the contribution of sheep to summer diet was far from that expected if their relative density was considered.
European Journal of Wildlife Research – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 4, 2006
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