Stefan Peneder

stefanpeneder@hotmail.com


Methodological Aspects of Home Range Size Analysis in a Non-Territorial Mammal: the European Hare (Lepus europaeus)

University of Vienna (Austria), Department of Population Ecology - in cooperation with the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Science Vienna, Institute of Wildlife Biology and Game Management

I observed 7 adult European hares in a small-scale agricultural area in Eastern Austria from May till October 2006 using radio-telemetry. Home ranges were calculated with different estimators (minimum convex polygon with different percentages of fixes included, fixed Kernel, and adaptive Kernel with different probability levels). Range size values differed significantly between estimation methods, and estimation methods did not always yield correlating results. Mean 2-month home range size ranged from 7.1 ha (adaptive Kernel 80 %; range of individuals: 3.2-11.1 ha) to 18.9 ha (adaptive Kernel 95 %; range: 8.0-31.3 ha). Comparisons with other home range studies show that the mean home range sizes (HRS) I found are amongst the smallest reported for the European hare so far. Day ranges were smaller than night ranges and were situated in large part within the night ranges. No general effect of cereal harvest on the use of space of the European hare could be found. Implications of my results for future studies are discussed. For future studies I advise to avoid the use of the MCP100 method and to publish all details of home range calculation.