We examined the effect of oil-field development on movements and patterns of spatial use of San Joaquin kit foxes (Vulpes macrotis mutica) on the Naval Petroleum Reserves in California (NPRC) in the San Joaquin Valley. To do this, we compared movements and home ranges of kit foxes from June 1984 to September 1985 in areas developed for petroleum production (30% of native habitat lost to production facilities) and areas with little development (3%). Distances traveled nightly by kit foxes did not differ between levels of petroleum development or between sexes (P > 0.2). Mean length of nightly movements during breeding (14.6 km) was longer than during pup-rearing (10.7 km) and pup-dispersal (9.4 km) periods (P = 0.01). Mean size of home ranges was 4.6 ± 0.4 (SE) km2 (n = 21) and did not differ between levels of petroleum development and sexes (P > 0.2). Overlap of home ranges of foxes from the same social group (78 ± 4.3%) was greater than that of same-sex foxes (35 ± 7.8%) and males and females of different social groups (32 ± 8.0%, P < 0.01). Overlap of home ranges did not differ between kit foxes inhabiting developed and undeveloped areas (P > 0.4). Despite extensive overlap of home ranges, kit foxes on NPRC maintained relatively exclusive core areas, particularly adjacent foxes of the same sex. Future studies should examine which levels of habitat conversion impact spatial use of kit foxes.
Zoellick, Bruce W.; Harris, Charles E.; Kelly, Brian T.; O'Farrell, Thomas P.; Kato, Thomas T.; and Koopman, Marni E.
"Movements and home ranges of San Joaquin kit foxes (Vulpes macrotis mutica) relative to oil-field development,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 62:
2, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol62/iss2/3