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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Winter food provision enhances den occupancy and litter production of Arctic foxes Alopex lagopus in Vindelfjallen nature reserve, Västerbotten, Sweden

Published source details

Angerbjorn A., Arvidson B., Noren E. & Stromgren L. (1991) The effect of winter food on reproduction in the arctic fox Alopex lagopus: a field experiment. Journal of Animal Ecology, 60, 705-714


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Provide supplementary food to increase reproduction/survival Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 1979–1990 in four mountainous grassland areas in northern Sweden (Angerbjörn et al. 1991) found that providing supplementary food increased occupancy of Arctic fox Alopex lagopus dens and the number of fox litters born, but not the numbers of cubs in each litter. Where supplementary food was provided, a higher proportion of dens were occupied (35%) than where no supplementary food was supplied (6%). Over five years, 17 of 65 dens (26%) where food was provided contained a litter while only three of 103 dens (3%) where no food was provided contained a litter. However, there was no significant difference in average litter size (supplementary food: 5.2 cubs; no food: 5.7 cubs). During January–April of 1985–1989, reindeer Rangifer tarandus and moose Alces alces meat was placed 50–200 m from 168 dens which showed signs of Arctic fox activity. In some cases, meat was buried in the snow. About 50–100 kg of meat/den/year was provided. Dens were surveyed for presence of foxes and offspring in June–August of 1979–1990.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)