Habitat used in the 3-4 weeks after parturition could be important to calf survival. Newborn calves are vulnerable to predation, and the cow needs adequate forage reserves during the period when calf mobility is limited. VHF collared cows were located by helicopters up to 3 weeks after parturition. A post-parturition area was defined as 100 ha surrounding the cow/calf location. We determined cover type composition in post-parturition areas compared to the 95% kernel home ranges of moose. Buffers of 5, 10, 25 and 50 ha were created around post-parturition areas to determine cover type composition at smaller spatial scales. Post-parturition areas were also compared to equivalent areas surrounding cows without calves. Fidelity was measured by comparing distances between consecutive post-parturition locations to distances to random locations distributed within the home ranges. Post- parturition sites had more lowland conifer and shrubland or regenerating/young forest cover types than random locations within the home range. Cows with calves selected areas with larger proportions of lowland conifer, shrublands and regenerating forests than did cows without calves. These cover types could have been used for cover and for foraging, respectively. There was no difference in the amount of water available in post-parturition areas when compared to home ranges (3.5% ± 0.8). Distances between consecutive post-parturition locations (1.7 ± 0.4 km) were less than expected when compared to distances to random points within the home ranges (3.3 ± 0.4 km), indicating cows may exhibit a degree of fidelity to post-parturition areas.
University of Minnesota Master of Science thesis. January 2011. Major: Integrated Biosciences. Advisor: Ron Moen. 1 computer file (PDF); iv, 48 pages.
McGraw, Amanda Marie.
Characteristics of Post-Parturition Areas of Moose and Effective Temperature of Cover Types in Moose Home Ranges in Northeast Minnesota.
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