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Determining Factors Affecting Moose Population Change In British Columbia Testing The Landscape Change Hypothesis Progress Report: February 2012-July 2015 G. Kuzyk
2015
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Abstract: This technical report is preceded by Kuzyk and Heard (2014). In response to declining Moose numbers in central British Columbia (BC), the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations initiated a 5-year (December 2013-March 2018) provincially-coordinated Moose research project in central BC. A Moose study on the Bonaparte Plateau north of Kamloops that began in February 2012 was integrated with this provincial project. This progress report provides an update of field studies and preliminary interpretation of results from February 2012 to 31 July 2015 for Moose in five geographically distinct study areas in central BC: Bonaparte Plateau; Big Creek; Entiako; Prince George South; and the John Prince Research Forest. During this time, 237 cow Moose were captured and fitted with GPS (Global Positioning System) radio-collars. There were 130 Moose captured using aerial darting and 107 using aerial net gunning. Two configurations of GPS radio-collars were used: those programmed for one fix/day (n = 137), and those with multi-fixes/day (n = 100). Collar performance of single fix collars for all study areas averaged 73% and ranged from 33?95%. A subsample of collars having multi-fix rates had higher fix rate success, recording 95% (Bonaparte) (range 90-98%) and 96% (Entiako) (range 87?100%) of possible locations. The majority of cow Moose were in good body condition, with pregnancy rates (78%) within the range expected for a stable population, and no indication of immediate disease or parasite concerns at the population level. As of 31 July 2015, the status of radio-collared cow Moose was: 167 active, 47 failed (i.e., either stopped collecting location data or slipped from Moose), and 23 mortalities. Probable causes of the 23 mortalities were predation (9), unregulated hunting (4), apparent starvation (4), vehicle collision (1), unknown natural (3), and two unknown. The combined annual survival rate of cow Moose from all study areas was 92 ? 8% in 2013/14 and 92 ? 5% in 2014/15, which is within the normal range for stable Moose populations. Analyses on patterns of habitat selection of radio-collared Moose are currently underway at the University of Northern British Columbia and the University of Victoria. A comprehensive analysis to determine underlying mechanisms and ecological processes affecting survival and mortality of radio-collared Moose in all five study areas will begin at the University of Northern British Columbia in year five (i.e., 2017/18) of this project. Preliminary results outlined in this progress report support the importance of investigating Moose calf survival (6?12 months).
 
G. Kuzyk, S. Marshall, M. Klaczek and M. Gillingham. 2015. Determining Factors Affecting Moose Population Change In British Columbia Testing The Landscape Change Hypothesis Progress Report: February 2012-July 2015. Province of B.C.. Wildlife Working Report. WR-122
 
Topic: Species status
Keywords: Moose, Population, BC, British Columbia, Wildlife Working Report, Technical Report, Progress Report
ISSN:  Scientific Name: Alces alces
ISBN: 978-0-7726-6932-2 English Name: Moose
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