OVER-WINTER SURVIVAL STRATEGIES OF NORTH AMERICAN CERVIDAE
Adaptations relating to over-winter survival in North American Cervidae (Alces alces, Cervus elaphus, Odocoileus hemionus, O. virginianus, Rangifer tarandus) are reviewed. All species adapt by varying physiological and behavioral mechanisms consistent with energy conservation. Adaptations of major importance are decreases in metabolism and activity that become pronounced as environmental conditions restrict access to quality forage. Shifts and adjustments to lower quality forage are accompanied by decline in forage intake and use of habitat which ameliorate weather conditions. Secondary adaptations include social behavior and resource partitioning based on sex and social rank.
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