Red foxes (Vulpes fulva) and raccoons (Procyon lotor) released at colonies of herring gulls (Larus argentatus) on islands off the Massachusetts coast effectively eliminated the production of young gulls. Annual predator introductions for 2-4 years caused major reductions in colony size and occasionally total abandonment of the island as a colony site. Observations of the experimental islands for 2 years after cessation of predator introductions showed slow repopulation of the islands and lower breeding success than on control islands. The size of the regional population was reduced largely because of the movements of gulls off the experimental islands. The introduced predators are, in most cases, difficult to maintain on the islands; this restricts their utility in population management.
Additional Publication Details
Effects of introducing foxes and raccoons on herring gull colonies