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Home-range size of the European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris): a report from two areas in Central Italy

Stefano Anile, Lolita Bizzarri, Moreno Lacrimini, Andrea Sforzi, Bernardino Ragni and Sebastien Devillard
From the journal Mammalia

Abstract

Although the behavioural ecology of the European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris) has been studied in several European countries, its home-range size is still poorly known due to elusive behaviour of the species living in typically low population densities. In our study, 11 wildcats from two distinct areas, the Maremma Regional Park (Tuscany; 3 males and 1 female) and the Paradiso di Pianciano Estate (Umbria; 6 males and 1 female), both located in Central Italy, were studied by means of classical VHF radio-tracking. Home ranges were calculated by means of the Brownian bridge movement model (BBMM). Variables significantly affecting home-range size were: study area, gender and the interaction between gender*age. The potential effect of the reproductive season and the nocturnal period was not supported. The main findings indicate that: (1) home-range sizes in Tuscany were larger than those in Umbria; (2) home-range size was positively related to the age of individuals; (3) males exploited larger home ranges than females in all age-classes except for the sub-adult age-class; this latter pattern has never emerged from any previous wildcat radio-telemetry study. Population density, different management regimes in the areas considered and the local abundance of prey may explain differences in home-range sizes between the study areas. The estimated home ranges of wildcats in Umbria were slightly larger than those reported across Europe, while those calculated in the Tuscan study area were significantly greater.

Acknowledgements

We thank Paul Dylan Hynds and Bernard Patrick for kindly reviewing the English of the manuscript. We also thank the owner of the Paradiso di Piancino private estate, Antonio Bachetoni, the keeper, Bernardino Ciamarra, the former Director of the Maremma Regional Park, Ilio Boschi, all those who collaborated with us in collecting the data in the study areas: Lamberto Bizzarri, Simone Calandri, Paolo Capelletti, Christian Chioso, Domenico Cristofari, Marina Gigante, Andrea Mandrici, Matteo Mariani, Roberta Mazzei, Mariagrazia Possenti, Alberto Sangiuliano, Maria Tiziana Serangeli, Francesca Vercillo, Marco Catello.

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Supplemental Material:

The online version of this article (DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2016-0045) offers supplementary material.

Received: 2016-4-10
Accepted: 2017-1-17
Published Online: 2017-3-2
Published in Print: 2017-12-20

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