A simulation model of the pattern of dispersal in urban fox (Vulpes vulpes) populations and its application for rabies control.
The reasons for choosing a stochastic spatial simulation model of urban fox dispersal are described, and the biological assumptions behind the construction of the model are discussed in relation to general fox ecology and behaviour, and specific features of urban fox populations. The structure of the basic model and the parameters used in it are presented, along with the modifications needed to make the model specific to any British city. Twenty-five model simulations were carried out for three cities: Bristol, Bournemouth-Poole and Leicester. The output of the simulation model in Bristol was compared with the results of a capture-mark-recapture study in that city. The validity of the model and its predictions are discussed in relation to its potential use for controlling a rabies outbreak in an urban area in Britain. Two further papers on the factors affecting dispersal of the urban fox, and quantitative analysis of dispersal distance, home range size and population density of foxes, by S. Harris and W.J. Trewhella are on pp. 409 and 423 of this issue.