MOOSE HABITAT USE THROUGHOUT GROS MORNE NATIONAL PARK

Krystal Kerckhoff, Brian E. McLaren, Shane P. Mahoney, Tom W. Knight

Abstract


Previous research indicated high variability in availability and habitat use by female moose in the lowlands of Gros Morne National Park (GMNP), Newfoundland and Labrador, an area dominated by bogs and forest. Here, we extend the earlier analysis with an additional 7 female moose (Alces alces americana) occupying the Park highlands, a region dominated by heath and shrub vegetation with forest limited to sheltered valleys, typical of interior and highland parts of the province. Resource selection function (RSF) models with differences in habitat use between moose resident in the 2 regions and 2 moose that migrated from the lowlands in winter to the highlands in summer were rejected. In summer, more use of closed-canopy forest types occurred on the lowlands, while more use of non-forest habitat types occurred on the highlands. As before, we found that selection of disturbed forest is a winter phenomenon on the lowlands of GMNP; the same series of habitat types associated with disturbance were avoided in summer. Summer migration by about 20% of GMNP moose to the highlands suggests that foraging opportunities are better during that season than in winter, a motivation for migration perhaps augmented by an overabundance of moose on the lowlands and unfavourable temperatures in disturbed areas that might otherwise serve as lowland foraging areas. An observation of more clustered relocations of moose on the highlands than on the lowlands of GMNP is consistent with our conclusion that moose use habitats within the highlands and lowlands of Newfoundland and Labrador very differently. We recommend 2 approaches to moose management for these different landscapes, both within GMNP and elsewhere in Newfoundland and Labrador.


Keywords


Gros Morne National Park, habitat selection, resource selection functions, moose, Newfoundland and Labrador

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