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Survival of radio-collared caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) from the George River herd, Nouveau-Quebec-Labrador

Survival of radio-collared caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) from the George River herd, Nouveau-Quebec-Labrador

Canadian Journal of Zoology 682: 276-283

ISSN/ISBN: 0008-4301

Between September 1983 and June 1987, 175 caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) from the George River caribou herd were captured and radio-collared. By October 1987, 42 of those had died: 15 were apparently killed by predators, 8 were legally shot, 4 appeared to have died proximally from malnutrition, 1 died from an accident, and cause of death could no be determined for 14 others. Seasonal and annual survival rates were estimated most precisely for adult (.gtoreq. 24 months) females, but a consistent trend towards lower survival at the end of the study period was evident in all age and sex groups. Decreasing summer survival was responsible for the lowering of annual survival rates, as winter survival was relatively constant over the study period. Using our calculated age-specific survival rates, and estimates of age-specific fecundity, the survival-fecundity rate of increase (rs) for the female segment of the herd was 0.12 for 1983-1984 and -0.01 for 1986-1987. Decreasing summer survival thus appears to have been of greatest importance in reducing rs to zero and halting the growth of the herd. Density-dependent mechanisms acting on the George River caribou herd appear different from those described for caribou herds regulated by winter forage.

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Accession: 018139433

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