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Effect of immobilizations on the activity and space use of female moose (Alces alces)

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Studies of free-ranging wildlife often involve animal capture and fitting of tracking devices. Capturing wildlife may result in behavioral alterations. Thus, there is a need to evaluate the effects of capture on study animals to identify potential biases influencing the research. We assessed the short-term response of 15 GPS/GSM-collared adult female moose (Alces alces (L., 1758)) and immobilization and handling by comparing moose rates of movement and net square displacement before and after recapture. Moose were more active up to 7 h and increased their spatial displacement for 4.5 days after recapture compared with movement patterns before recapture. Opposite to our predictions, moose did not reduced their movement rates after their initial displacement following capture and recovery, i.e., moose did not show any indication for a residual effect. We recommend using individuals as their own controls in analyses of capture impacts to account adequately for individual behavioral differences. We recommend omitting data of at least the first 5 days following capture for analyses of moose movement and distribution.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Environmental Studies, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 901 83 Umeå, Sweden. 2: Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management, Hedmark University College, P.O. Box 400, NO-2418 Elverum, Norway; Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Environmental Studies, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 901 83 Umeå, Sweden.

Publication date: 2011-11-26

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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