Category: Wildlife Research
Published: December 27, 2017
Author(s): James W. Goerz (PhD Student), Dr. Mike Mitchell (MTCWRU), Dr. Richard Harris (WDFW), Dr. Joshua Millspaugh (B&C), Dr. Paul Lukacs (UMWBIO), Dr. Nicholas DeCesare (MTFWP
In May 2017, the Northeast Washington Moose Demography Project entered its fourth year of fieldwork, collecting data on moose movements, population vital rates (survival and reproduction), and the factors which may be influencing them. Thus far, we have accumulated more than 1,200 ground-approaches of 67 individual radio-collared adult female moose in order to track calf production and survival. Information obtained from these field observations, as well as the location data transmitted by their radio-collars, provides the opportunity to understand population dynamics and behavior as well as the environmental characteristics driving those responses. Potential drivers of moose population dynamics and behavior that are of interest include predation risk (black bears, mountain lions, and wolves), internal and external parasites, and the composition and distribution of land-cover types (forage, thermal refuge). Field work led by the University of Montana (UM) will conclude in May 2018; WDFW will continue to monitor marked animals after this time. Final results for the UM portion are expected by May 2020.