Introduction

Figure 1 shows the spatial extent of relocations of two carnivores, a wolf and a coyote, as a function of time from the first measurement of an individual's location. Initially, their space use increases rapidly but, as sampling continues, the spatial extent of the relocations saturates. This phenomenon is widespread among mobile animals and reflects the fact that animals typically do not move randomly through their environment, but instead restrict their movements to particular areas. In some species,

Figure 1 Increase in the areal extent of wolf and coyote relocations as a function of the length of radio-tracking. Data re-plotted from Messier and Barette (1985).

Time (months)

Figure 1 Increase in the areal extent of wolf and coyote relocations as a function of the length of radio-tracking. Data re-plotted from Messier and Barette (1985).

such as many birds and carnivores, this localizing tendency arises from the need to provide for offspring located in a nest site or den, resulting in these locations acting as focal points for the movements of adults during periods of breeding - so-called 'central place foraging'. In other species, such as primates and deer, the existence of a localizing tendency in the movement of individuals is linked to the exploitation of particular resources such as foraging areas or watering holes. Observations such as these underlie the concept of an animal's home range, ''the area in which an animal normally lives, exclusive of migration, emigration, or other large infrequent excursions.''

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