MOVEMENTS OF FEMALE MOOSE IN RELATION TO BIRTH AND DEATH OF CALVES
We followed the daily movements of 24-59 parturient moose every spring from 1994-1997 in southcentral Alaska, an area with heavy predation of calves. We tested the hypotheses that: (1) selection of a parturition site involves movements not typical of normal home range use; (2) movements during the neonatal period increase risk to calves; and (3) females are more likely to return to an area for parturition if their previous calf escaped predation. Movements of moose increased significantly in the 2 days prior to parturition, were greatly reduced for at least the next 9 days and did not approach pre-parturition levels until calves were about 26 days old. Daily movements by females that eventually lost a calf (> 48 hours after day observed) were greater than those by females that successfully reared their calf or calves through the first 45 days of life (P = 0.049). Distances between parturition sites in successive years were greater among females that lost their claves the first year (4.9 vs 2.6 km, P = 0.02), regardless of the age at which the calf died.
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