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Juvany Canovas, Laura, 2019. Using camera traps to compare the habitat choice of different deer species in hunting versus non-hunting season. Second cycle, A2E. Umeå: SLU, Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies

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Abstract

A general increase in ungulate populations calls for a better understanding of their habitat use and movement at small spatial scales. This understanding is necessary for the development of useful management actions to solve possible human-wildlife conflicts. One proposed management action is to use the indirect effects of hunting. Hunting activities potentially increase the feeling of risk of being predated perceived by ungulates, which could decrease their fitness by choosing to move to less risky areas with a lower quality of food. In this study, I wanted to determine how habitat use of ungulates changed between seasons in a peninsula in northern Sweden where four species of ungulates coexist: moose (Alces alces), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) red deer (Cervus elaphus) and fallow deer (Dama dama). I hypothesized that during the hunting period ungulate habitat selection would be driven by hunting risk perception, which would imply a stronger selection for forest sites with low visibility (high denseness of understory vegetation), than for forest sites with high visibility. Outside of the hunting period, I hypothesized that habitat selection would be driven by food availability and preference, making ungulates choose the most productive areas. To study this, I used data collected with camera traps, from which I obtained the passages for the four ungulate species and built models for naïve occupancy, occupancy and passage rates to determine which habitat type was more visited per season and species. I found different habitat selection patterns for three of the four studied species. Most notably, passage rates of moose were higher in open sites outside of the hunting season, while there was no difference between the habitat types during the hunting period. These differences give an insight in the importance of developing specific management per species even if they are situated in a multispecies system. My research confirms that hunting could potentially be used as a management strategy to change the habitat selection of moose away from open areas, such as planted clear-cuts.

Main title:Using camera traps to compare the habitat choice of different deer species in hunting versus non-hunting season
Authors:Juvany Canovas, Laura
Supervisor:Hofmeester, Tim and Cromsigt, Joris and Jansen, Patrick
Examiner:Widemo, Fredrik
Series:Examensarbete / SLU, Institutionen för vilt, fisk och miljö
Volume/Sequential designation:2019:3
Year of Publication:2019
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:None
Supervising department:(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Keywords:ungulates, camera trapping, occupancy modelling
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-10325
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-10325
Subjects:Animal ecology
Language:English
Deposited On:28 Mar 2019 11:25
Metadata Last Modified:29 Mar 2019 02:01

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