Rodenticide Exposure Among Endangered Kit Foxes Relative to Habitat Use in an Urban Landscape

Citation data:

Cities and the Environment (CATE), ISSN: 1932-7048, Vol: 7, Issue: 1, Page: 8

Publication Year:
2014
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Repository URL:
https://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cate/vol7/iss1/8
Author(s):
Cypher, Brian L.; McMillin, Stella C.; Westall, Tory L.; Van Horn Job, Christine; Hosea, Robert C.; Finlayson, Brian J.; Kelly, Erica C.
Tags:
endangered species; habitat use; rodenticides; San Joaquin kit fox; urban environment; Vulpes macrotis mutica; Ecological Research
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article description
Endangered San Joaquin kit foxes (Vulpes macrotis mutica) inhabiting Bakersfield, California exhibit a high incidence of exposure to anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs). We examined kit fox habitat use in an effort to determine potential sources of AR exposure. Kit fox capture, den, night, and mortality locations were assigned to one of 10 habitat categories. Using all available locations, foxes that tested positive for second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) were located more frequently on golf courses while those testing negative were located more frequently in commercial areas. Foxes that tested positive for first generation anticoagulant rodenticides (FGARs) were located more frequently in industrial areas while those testing negative were located more frequently on golf courses. Based on night locations (when foxes are foraging), foxes that tested positive for SGARs were found more frequently in undeveloped and golf course habitats. Foxes that tested positive for FGARs were found more frequently in undeveloped, campus, and industrial habitats. Although available data were not sufficient to identify specific point-sources of AR exposure for foxes, golf courses appeared to be used more frequently by foxes exposed to SGARs. However, sources of exposure likely are abundant and widespread in the urban environment. Based on the results of this study, we recommend (1) investigating patterns of AR use in Bakersfield, (2) conducting an outreach program to emphasize the risk from ARs to kit foxes and other wildlife, and (3) continuing to monitor the incidence and patterns of AR exposure among kit foxes in Bakersfield.