MOOSE MARK-RECAPTURE SURVEY IN NEWFOUNDLAND
The mark-recapture survey (Lincoln-Petersen method) using a dye marking technique reduced many biases in aerial surveying and therefore increased accuracy in estimating moose density. The mark-recapture method eliminated visibility bias associated with aerial surveying, since the method depends only on the ratio of marked moose to the total numbers observed. The spray painting dye marking technique provided an easier method of marking large numbers of moose and created less disturbance to the animal as compared to capturing and immobilization for radio-collaring or tagging. Population estimate for the Northwest Gander-Gambo Management unit in winter 1985 was 4221 ± 30%. The four major assumptions of mark-recapture survey were evaluated by testing (1) for differences in distance moved, mortality and sightability between marked and unmarked radio-collared moose and (2) differences in habitat used and proportions of age-sex classes between mark and recapture surveys. Time and costs of mark-recapture surveys are justified in areas with high moose density (>2 moose/km2) or in areas where the majority of moose are found in open habitat.
Using data from five combined mark-recapture and block surveys, we calculated an adjusted sightability for block surveys which varied from 1.7 in open cover areas (4% forest) to 2.7 in closed cover areas (64% forest). A mean correction factor of 2.4 suggests that less than half of the moose are seen on block surveys.
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