The ecology of red foxes (vulpes vulpes) in anthropogenic landscapes
Human population is growing steadily (Goujon, 2019) and with this growth landscapes have been altered trough anthropogenic activities (Chase & Chase, 2016). An increasing amount of natural and semi-natural habitat is being transformed to provide residential space and associated infrastructure. Habitat transformation and loss of habitat connectivity exposes wildlife to new challenging conditions and novel environmental pressures including noise, chemical and light pollution (Grimm et al., 2008).
... Not all species can cope with these extensive and rapid changes. Urbanisation is identified as one of the main reasons for biodiversity loss (Altherr, 2007; Concepción et al., 2015; Luck & Smallbone, 2010; McKinney, 2006). Vertebrate loss is typically considered to be worst in urbanised areas because of intense and long-term disturbances that permanently alter habitats and depreciate food webs (Lombardi et al., 2017; McKinney, 2008). Nevertheless, there are always animal species that have adjusted to city life, so-called urban dwellers. An outstanding example of a successful urban dweller is the red fox (Vulpes vulpes). Foxes appear to be increasingly moving into human settlements throughout their range. Examples include Oslo, Norway (Christensen, 1985), Arhus, Denmark (Nielsen, 1990), Toronto, Canada (Adkins & Stott, 1998), Zurich, Switzerland (Gloor, 2002), or (in my focal area around) Berlin, Germany (Börner et al., 2009). Detailed knowledge of animal communities, food and competition relationships among the species, as well as species movement patterns and health status allows us to better understand the dynamics and predict the resilience of an ecosystem (Leibold et al., 2004). We need to know which characteristics allow species to persist in urban areas to prevent human-wildlife conflicts and promote biodiversity in cities. Identifying the biological traits favouring synurbisation is decisive to inform current management as well as to generate predictions for the future. In order to understand why the red [...]