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Dijkgraaf, Lisa, 2022. Bear in mind! A study about the effect of bear predation on the choice of calving site and site fidelity by female moose in Sweden. Second cycle, A2E. Umeå: SLU, Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies

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Abstract

Selecting a suitable calving site is important for ungulates, especially when predators are present. Brown bears (Ursus arctos) predate on moose calves (Alces alces) and therefore influence the reproductive success of the moose. Female moose learn to reduce the chances of predation on their calves, but it remains unclear which strategies female moose apply. Therefore, the aim was to study the effect of bear predation on the choice of calving site features and site fidelity of female moose. To study the effect of bear density on calving site choice, I compared calving site features (e.g. habitat structure like distance to the nearest road, vegetation cover and terrain ruggedness) with characteristics of random sites within seven areas with different bear densities in Sweden. To study the effect of bear density on site fidelity, I compared distances between successive calving sites between areas with varying bear densities and between females that lost their calves in the previous year compared to females with surviving calves. The effects were studied using movement data of female moose, survival data of their calves and maps of the site characteristics. Female moose in areas with bears selected for higher shrub cover, higher tree cover and slightly lower distance to the nearest road compared to females in the predator-free area. Shrub cover and tree cover both increase the chance of hiding the calf from predators. The selection for higher distance to roads was strongest in the predator-free area, which indicates that the presence of bears resulted in a selection closer to roads. The distance between calving sites during subsequent years was greater in areas with higher bear density compared to the area without bears, regardless of whether the female has experienced a calf loss or not in the previous year. There was no evidence that female experience with calf predation in the previous year had an influence on the selection in most weeks or on the distance between successive calving sites, which could be caused by the relatively low sample size. In conclusion, female moose are influenced in their site selection and site fidelity by bear presence but the effect of female experience with calf predation should be studied further.

Main title:Bear in mind! A study about the effect of bear predation on the choice of calving site and site fidelity by female moose in Sweden
Authors:Dijkgraaf, Lisa
Supervisor:Stenbacka, Fredrik and Van Hoof, Pim
Examiner:Cromsigt, Joris
Series:Examensarbete / SLU, Institutionen för vilt, fisk och miljö
Volume/Sequential designation:2022:15
Year of Publication:2022
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), brown bear (Ursus arctos), predation, calving site, site fidelity
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-18287
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-18287
Subjects:Nature conservation and land resources
Language:English
Deposited On:05 Sep 2022 10:49
Metadata Last Modified:06 Sep 2022 01:01

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