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Graf, Lukas, 2021. Non-naivety in a long-lived ungulate : learning effects of shooting moose calves?. Second cycle, A2E. Umeå: SLU, Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies



Habitat selection and movement are considered important factors for survival of game species when they are hunted by humans. To reduce their risk of predation, animals can adapt their behavior to their most abundant predator over time through experience. To test for learning capabilities in a long-lived ungulate, I used GPS-data of 19 male and 84 female moose (Alces alces) in two study areas in southern Sweden from 2008-2018. I matched the GPS-data with reproduction and survival data and analyzed movement rates and habitat selection in a heavily managed moose population. While not being a gregarious species, moose are expected to learn from non-lethal mortality when a female loses her calf to harvest. Hunters were more likely to harvest male moose that moved faster before the moose hunting season began. Female moose where more likely to get harvested when they selected more for open habitats. The results of my study suggest that female moose in my study areas increased their shyness in the next hunting season after losing a calf to harvest. Female moose increased nocturnal activity and increased their avoidance of open habitats. As they aged, female moose decreased their movement rates and avoided open habitats. Using these proxies for shyness indicates that being shyer is beneficial for moose to survive the hunting season. My study suggests that learning effects accumulate as moose age. Furthermore, my results help to understand the influence human hunters impose on behavior of moose in a heavily managed population.

Main title:Non-naivety in a long-lived ungulate
Subtitle:learning effects of shooting moose calves?
Authors:Graf, Lukas
Supervisor:Neumann Sivertsson, Wiebke and Thurfjell, Henrik
Examiner:Widemo, Fredrik
Series:Examensarbete / SLU, Institutionen för vilt, fisk och miljö
Volume/Sequential designation:2021:5
Year of Publication:2021
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:None
Supervising department:(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Keywords:moose, Alces alces, integrated step selection function, habitat selection, anti-predator behavior
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Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Nature conservation and land resources
Deposited On:23 Mar 2021 12:16
Metadata Last Modified:12 May 2021 07:18

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