TRAIN MOOSE-KILL IN ALASKA: CHARACTERISTICS AND RELATIONSHIP WITH SNOWPACK DEPTH AND MOOSE DISTRIBUTION IN LOWER SUSITNA VALLEY
Trends in moose (Alces alces) mortality (n = 3,054) due to train collisions along 756 km of railway in Alaska from 1963-90 are presented. Annual (May-April) mortality ranged from 9 to 725 moose. Winter (November-April) mortality varied from 7 to 705 moose, with more than 70% occurring from January through March. Mortality was greatest in sections of the railway transecting winter range. During the 1989-90 winter, 50 % (352) moose of the train moose-kills occurred in a 64 km section of railway (8.5% of the railway length) in the lower Susitna Valley. There was a positive correlation among snowpack depth and train moose-kill, and moose numbers on winter range for the years when I studied the relationship. There was an inverse relationship between snowpack depth and moose density in alpine habitat, and between alpine density and train moose-kill for the years the relationship was studied. There was a relationship between the timing of deep snow and timing of moose occurrence on winter range, and timing of train moose-kill in two winters with greatly dissimilar patterns of snow accumulation. My results empathy and buys importance of understanding moose movements in assessing and resolving the train-moose problem. Findings also identify the importance of alpine postrut concentration areas as a component of moose habitat.
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