REPRODUCTIVE PATTERNS OF FEMALE MUSKOXEN IN NORTHEASTERN ALASKA
Reproductive success is an important variable in the dynamics of a re-established population of muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, USA. From observation of marked female muskoxen between 1982 and 1999, I generated reproductive histories based on the presence or absence of young in late June. I determined age at first reproduction and maximum age at which females successfully reproduced and calculated rates of reproduction by age class and changes in mean reproductive intervals (years between successful reproductive events) over time. Age at first reproduction ranged from 2 to 5 years. Nine of 15 females first reproduced successfully at age 3 years. Thirteen of 17 females >10 years old reproduced successfully at 11-18 years of age; 4 of these had young at age 15-18 years. Two females ceased reproducing at age 6-8 years. Age-related differences in rates of reproduction were not apparent. Reproductive intervals varied within and among individuals. By 1991-1993, most female muskoxen in this population successfully reproduced at intervals of 2-3 years.
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