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Abstract

This study presents the first findings on faecal marking behaviour in Eurasian lynx.
Faecal marking behaviour in Eurasian lynx, Lynx lynx
Deniz Mengüllüoğlu, Anne Berger, Daniel Förster, Heribert Hofer
IZW Berlin, Alfred Kowalke-Str. 17 10315 Berlin,Germany.
deniz@izw-berlin.de
Main findings
This study presents the first findings on faecal marking behaviour in
Eurasian lynx.
A density-dependent scraping behaviour (Fig.1) was frequently displayed
during pre-mating period to keep away the rivals from territories.
Lynx used a highly aromatic plant, Juniperus oxycedrus, frequently as
marking object.
Faecal marking was mostly concentrated on the borders of neighbouring
territorial individuals.
Results
Faecal marking was most frequent during mating whereas scraping was highly frequent in winter season (pre-mating) (Fig.5)
Among the five categories of marked objects (Fig.6);
A) Juniperus excelsa (aromatic, no spines)
B) Forestry logs
C) Juniperus oxycedrus (Fig.8, highly aromatic, spiny needles)
D) Pinus nigra
E) Rocks
Juniperus oxycedrus was significantly more frequently marked (Fig.6/C, Fig.7)
(Mann-Whitney U pairswise p<0.05).
Aim
This study aims to reveal the faecal marking behaviour in the Eurasian lynx.
Materials and Methods
Faeces (n = 100) were found with a scat detection dog (Fig.2) in Autumn 2013-Spring 2015 in Nallihan Mtn.s, Turkey
The presence, place and season of marking and the markıng object was noted
DNA swabs were taken from faeces and individuals were identified through microsatellites.
Fig. 1. Camera trap pictures of a a) scraping and b) defecating territorial male lynx.
0
30
60
90
120
winter mating summer autumn
Fig.5. Seasonal patterns
marking %
scraping %
Acknowledgements
References
1)Avgan B. et al. (2014). Wildl. Biol.; 2) Breitenmoser, U. et al. (2005). ‘Balkan Lynx Field Book.’ (KORA and Cat S.G.); 3) MELLEN, J.D., 1993. Am. Zool.;
4) SMITH J.L.D. et al. (1989). Anim. Behav.
Conclusions
As a novel insight to the existing research on lynx behaviour (2), this study revealed that faeces are also used for scent marking in the Eurasian lynx .
The reason for scraping is thought to be the high lynx density in Anatolian lynx populations (1).
The findings of this study are consistent with those on other felids (4; 3), which show the intensity of faecal marking increasing as the mating season
approaches and the marking locations concentrating on the borders of neighbouring territorial animals (Fig.8).
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Fig.3. Presence of faecal marking (%)
65.17
34.83
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Yes No
Fig. 4. Presence of scraping in marked
sites (%)
Fig.2
Fig.6 Fig.7
Hasan Emir, Serdar Geredelioğlu, Gökhan Yıldızhan, Ömer Kıraç, Ali Onur Sayar, Tanja Noventa, Ivan Palmegiani.
a b
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... They are lagomorph specialists (similar to the Iberian lynx Lynx pardinus), have a smaller body size [15] and smaller home range sizes, and thus occur in suitable habitats at higher population densities [16] than European subspecies. They live in dry open, rocky and coniferous habitats and scrape mark [15,17], a marking behaviour that in the genus Lynx is otherwise only observed in bobcats (Lynx rufus [18]). Highway collisions, habitat fragmentation and poaching are the main factors threatening the Caucasian lynx across its range [19]. ...
... When combined with invasive sampling and camera trapping, this technique can provide valuable information on space use, marking behaviour and survival, and reveal interactions between individuals or groups [70]. By genotyping and re-sampling lynx individuals in this study, we obtained data on population dynamics, genetic relatedness, space use and other issues such as marking behaviour and spatial interactions [17] of a Caucasian lynx population for the first time. Genotyping revealed some dynamics between neighbouring territorial individuals such as male lynx intruding into territories of neighbours during mating time [17]. ...
... By genotyping and re-sampling lynx individuals in this study, we obtained data on population dynamics, genetic relatedness, space use and other issues such as marking behaviour and spatial interactions [17] of a Caucasian lynx population for the first time. Genotyping revealed some dynamics between neighbouring territorial individuals such as male lynx intruding into territories of neighbours during mating time [17]. Although this population had been monitored since 2009 using camera traps, the relatedness among territorial lynx was still unclear but could be solved within our study. ...
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... To our knowledge, floater adult Eurasian lynx older than the age of four and with such large stable HRs have never been recorded by any previous study. We suggest that the high lynx density in our study area and a landscape fully occupied by adult territorial male lynx (breeding lynx populations: Mengüllüoğlu, 2010;Akbaba & Ayas, 2012Breitenmoser et al., 2015;Mengüllüoğlu et al., 2015Mengüllüoğlu et al., , 2019Soyumert, 2020;Soyumert et al., 2019;Turan, 1984) has led to the presence of adult floater males queuing for territories (cf. Melzheimer et al., 2018). ...
... Other adult territorial male lynx, some of which escaped from the live traps during our live capture survey, also held long-term territories and were camera-trapped frequently since 2009 (8, 6, and 3 years; Mengüllüoğlu et al., 2019). All four territorial males displayed defensive marking behavior such as frequent cheek rubbing, claw marking, and fecal scrape marking, which were genetically identified to belong to them (long-term monitored male territorial lynx in Mengüllüoğlu et al., 2015Mengüllüoğlu et al., , 2019. ...
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Knowledge regarding the spatial behavior of the Eurasian lynx is mainly inferred from populations in Europe. We used GPS telemetry to record the spatial behavior of nine individuals in northwestern Anatolia obtaining eleven home ranges (HRs). Analyses revealed the smallest mean HR sizes (n HR♀ = 4) at 57 km 2 (95% kernel utilization distribution , KUD) and 56 km 2 (95% minimum convex polygon, MCP), ever reported for adult female Eurasian lynx. Adult males either occupied small permanent territories (n HR♂. T = 2), with a mean of 176 km 2 (95% KUD) and 150 km 2 (95% MCP), or were residents without territories (floaters, n HR♂. F = 2) roaming across large, stable HRs with a mean size of 2,419 km 2 (95% KUD) and 1,888 km 2 (95% MCP), comparable to HR sizes of Scandinavian lynx populations. Three disperser subadult males did not hold stable HRs (mean 95% KUD = 203 km 2 , mean 95% MCP = 272 km 2). At 4.9 individuals per 100 km 2 , population density was one of the highest recorded, suggesting that the presence of adult male floaters was a consequence of a landscape fully occupied by territorials and revealing a flexibility of spatial behavior of Eurasian lynx not previously recognized. Such a high population density, small HRs, and behavioral flexibility may have been aided by the legal protection from and apparent low levels of poaching of this population. The observed spatial tactics are unlikely to be seen in most of the previously studied Eurasian lynx populations, as they either suffer medium to high levels of human-caused mortality or were unlikely to be at carrying capacity. For effective and appropriate conservation planning, data from felid populations in a reasonably natural state such as ours, where space, density, prey, and pathogens are likely to be the key drivers of spatial dynamics, are therefore essential.
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