The region is mostly used for fine wool fat lamb and cattle production and

The region is mostly used for fine wool fat lamb and

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The region is mostly used for fine wool, fat lamb and cattle production and culti- vated winter cereal crops. Topography ranges from undulating to hilly lowland with elevations from 450 m to 800 m. Climate is modified by altitude and landscape and can be described as mild to cold winters and mild to hot summers. Temperatures range Brought to you by | University of Washington Libraries Authenticated Download Date | 10/13/19 7:05 PM
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DEMOGRAPHY OF FOXES IN AUSTRALIA 249 Lake Burrendong Murringo MtomBtes Fig. 1. - Location of study sites. from a mean maximum of 32°C in summer to a mean minimum of 0°C in winter. Rainfall is reliable and slightly seasonal with a winter-spring dominance. Average annual rainfall across the region is within the range of 550-750 mm (Australian Bureau of Meteorology, 1988). Remnant vegetation consists of dry sclerophyll forest and woodland. Fox collection A total of 264 males and 270 females were either shot at night with the aid of a spotlight or cyanide baited during 1995 and 1996. Cyanide was conducted under permit using prescribed techniques which ensured target specificity (Marks and Gigliotti 1996). Of the 270 females, 178 were pregnant and of these 14 were not able to be aged and 7 had resorbed litters. The remaining foxes were determined as having not ovula- ted because they were either too young or collected too early in the breeding season. Each fox was weighed before reproductive tracts (females only), stomachs and lower jaws were removed. Age specific fecundity and sex ratios of viable embryos are used for the purposes of life table construction in this paper. Further detail and discussion on reproductive performance will be reported elsewhere (Mcllroy et al. 2001). Brought to you by | University of Washington Libraries Authenticated Download Date | 10/13/19 7:05 PM
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250 MAMMALIA Age determination The canine teeth were removed from the lower jaw, sectioned and stained. Sequential deposition of cementum annuli was then used to quantify age (Harris 1978). All ages were based on an assumed birth date of 1 October. Aging was undertaken by Matson's Laboratory (USA), using long established procedures and known age refe- rences. In some cases the teeth were too damaged for age determination. Fox abundance Spotlight counts were conducted at two sites (Burrendong and Murringo) along set transects (21.5 and 18.9km respectively) for three consecutive nights and at three monthly intervals. A four wheel drive vehicle travelled at five to 10 km per hour along set tracks in each site. An observer standing on the back of the vehicle used a 100 W spotlight and counted all foxes seen on both sides of the track. The mean number of foxes per km of transect in each session was then used as a seasonal index of relative fox abundance. Counts were conducted every season between July 1994 and October 1997.
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