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Forest cover selection and activity of cow moose in summer



Forest cover selection and activity of cow moose in summer



Acta Theriologica 40(1): 23-36



Although thermal cover receives attention from managers, variations in data regarding its use by ungulates hinders development of effective cover guidelines. We examined patterns of habitat selection and activity of radio-collared cow moose Alces alces Linnaeus, 1758 to determine if these 2 parameters were influenced by ambient thermal environment. Cow moose used sites with relatively denser forest canopies when conditions of heat stress existed in open areas. Use of open areas did not change with ambient temperature; some sites classed as open on forest cover maps, however, had willow canopies capable of providing thermal cover. An increase in the use of open sites from 11.00 to 24.00 hr corresponded to a simultaneous decrease in the likelihood of thermal stress in such areas; predator-avoidance was deemed unlikely to explain observed behaviour. Moose decreased activity and distance traveled between successive locations during hot periods. Summer thermal cover is a selected, manageable component of moose habitat in southern British Columbia.

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