Severud, William J., Giudice, Glenn Del, Obermoller, Tyler R., Enright, Thomas A., Wright, Robert G., Forester, James D.

Wildlife Society Bulletin

Published date July 21, 2015

Using GPS collars to determine parturition and cause-specific mortality of moose calves

  • States need for information on neonatal survival and cause-specific mortality of moose neonates
  • Researchers monitored hourly movements of GPS-collared females for indications of calving
  • From May 2 to June 2, 2013, researchers observed 47 of 73 collared females (50 known pregnant, 17 not pregnant, 6 unknown pregnancy status) make “calving movements” followed by a clustering of locations
  • Researchers approached calving sites (after allowing a mean bonding time of 40.2 hr) and captured and GPS-collared 49 neonates from 31 dams
  • Researchers closely monitored dam–calf movements and launched rapid investigative responses to calf mortality notifications to determine cause of mortality
  • Twenty-five of 34 calves (74%) died of natural causes as of 31 December 2013, including 1 after natural abandonment, 1 after abandonment of unknown cause, 1 drowning, 1 unknown predator kill, 1 lethal infection from wolf (Canis lupus) bites, 4 black bear (Ursus americanus) kills, 12 wolf kills, and 4 “probable wolf kills"
  • Research has implications for moose population management