Movement pattern of Moose (Alces alces) in southwestern Sweden in relation to highway traffic intensity

University essay from Karlstads universitet/Institutionen för natur och miljö

Abstract:

Abstract

GPS telemetry is a method with good accuracy to determine animal movements in the terrain. It is necessary to determine locations of free-ranging animals in order to understand movement patterns and habitat use, and to understand the consequences of human impacts like highways. This study aims to describe moose movement patterns and to evaluate the effect of highway traffic intensity on moose movements across a highway.

Moose in Southwestern Sweden have different movement rates throughout the year. Increased movement rate for females was observed during spring and summer. The breeding season (15 September -15 October) is the most important season for bulls. Our result shows that bulls significantly increase their movement rate during the rut, compared to other times during the fall. Movement rate increased twice compared with female movement rate during this period. No difference was observed during the rutting period for females (15 September- 15 October) compared with no rutting period during fall. During winter time, both sexes retain low movements, mainly caused by energy saving actions. A distinct crepuscular rhythm was exhibited during the summer and fall season, movements were more intense during dawn and dusk hours. No distinct crepuscular rhythm was noticed during winter and spring seasons.

The traffic intensity at highway E6 in Southwestern Sweden increases during the morning hours and reaches its maximum during midday. Moose in southwestern Sweden crossed highway E6 more often at night time than day time. Thus highway crossings by moose occurred at times of peak moose movements, and traffic volume had lower importance.

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