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Data from: Season rather than habitat affects lynx survival and risk of mortality in the human-dominated landscape of southern Sweden

Citation

Andren, Henrik et al. (2021), Data from: Season rather than habitat affects lynx survival and risk of mortality in the human-dominated landscape of southern Sweden, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.ksn02v75c

Abstract

Landscapes are mosaics of habitat associated with different risks and resources, including human activities, which can affect individual survival in wildlife. Different relationships between habitat characteristics and human-caused and natural mortality can result in attractive sinks. We used individual-based data from 97 Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) monitored for 160 exposure years to link adult survival and the risk of mortality to home range habitat characteristics in the human-dominated landscape of southern Sweden. Human-caused mortality dominated mortality causes (24 out of 37 deaths). We did not detect any strong effects of habitat characteristics explaining the variation in mortality risk in lynx. Although the density of roe deer affects several aspects of lynx ecology, we could not detect any effects of roe deer density on lynx survival, probably because roe deer density was sufficiently high in our study area. Instead, there was a high seasonal variation in mortality lynx. Mortality was highest during the hunting season for lynx (February 16 – March 31), as well as during autumn and winter, probably because lynx poaching occurred opportunistically during the hunting season for moose and roe deer. We did not find any indication that human activity created attractive sinks for lynx, since there was no contrasting pattern between human-caused and natural mortality in terms of habitat characteristics. One explanation for the limited influence of the home range characteristics may be that lynx in our study died from multiple causes (natural causes 35%, legal hunting 27 %, poaching 22 % and vehicle collisions 16 %). Therefore, it is less likely that one or a few habitat characteristics could explain the risk of mortality at the home range scale. There is strong evidence that lynx can coexist with humans in multi-use and human-dominated landscapes, even without large protected areas, if the management regimes are favourable.