CHARACTERISTICS OF NEONATAL MOOSE HABITAT IN NORTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE
Habitat use by parturient moose (Alces alces) may have important implications for calf survival and subsequently influence population dynamics. Because neonatal habitat may be limiting or specialized and little descriptive information exists in the northeastern United States, this study was conducted to measure the physical and vegetative characteristics associated with neonatal habitat of 30 maternal moose. There was no difference (P > 0.10 for each parameter) in 22 of 23 physical and vegetative parameters measured at neonatal (n = 30) and random sites (n = 30). However, neonatal sites were about 2X farther (P = 0.032) than random sites from cut/regeneration habitat where no neonatal site occurred. Most neonatal sites (> 63%) were located in pole or saw timber stands comprised of mixed or coniferous habitat (> 75%); conifers were the dominant canopy species at 67% of neonatal sites. Characteristics related to forage availability suggest that forage resources were probably not influential in location of neonatal habitat. Mature, mixed, and coniferous habitats may provide microhabitat that helps conceal neonates from potential predators such as black bears (Ursus americana), particularly in the absence of islands and open water that are believed to mitigate predation.
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