RESOURCE USE BY MOOSE VERSUS SYMPATRIC DEER, WAPITI AND BISON
Proposals for game ranching in western Canada involve rearing mixed species assemblages of moose (Alces alces) with other native ungulates including bison (Bison bison), wapiti (Cervus elaphus canadensis), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and mule deer (O. hemionus) in fenced enclosures. Elk Island National Park in central Alberta is an analog for this management system. Pellet group surveys of habitat use and food habits for the winter of 1972-73 were employed with data from aerial surveys flown between 1960 and 1976 to evaluate partitioning of the resources of food, habitat and space between moose and other sympatric ungulates. Moose were found to be separated from the other ungulates largely by their selection of places to live and additionally from bison by their food habits. Further examination of spatial separation of moose from the other cervids over a range of moose population levels showed that moose occupy additional space almost at a rate proportional to their numerical increase up to a certain level, then rate of acquisition of new territory declines. At that point, population growth is partially accommodated by increased numbers of moose groups in territory already occupied and increased number of animals per group.
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