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On the Behaviour of the North American Moose (Alces Alces Andersoni Peterson 1950) in British Columbia

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1. Moose were observed in Wells Gray Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada, during two summers and one short winter period. The aim of the paper is to describe their observed behaviour. 2. The comfort movements, stretching, yawning, shaking, rubbing and scratching, were described. It was found that 67% of all comfort movements, as well as urination and defecation fell into the first and last five minutes of activity. The occurrence of comfort movements varied further with the season of the year and with environmental conditions. 3. Lying down and getting up was described. 4. The urination postures of cow and bull were found to be the same. 5. The manner of feeding was described. 6. The lipcurl (Flehmen) was described. 7. Moose can threaten with head high, with head low, a defensive threat, or with antlers. It is postulated that interaction of flight and aggression can produce a posture similar to head high threat on one hand, and a circling run in front of the opponent on the other. 8. Sociability of moose fluctuates with the season. In summer moose are mainly solitary; in winter more gregarious. In contrast to red deer, cow moose with calves do not group. Bulls however, can form loose clubs. No leadership in these clubs was apparent. Young bulls are usually less dominant than old bulls. Cows in groups are less cohesive than bulls. 9. Play was found to consist mainly of running and aggressive behaviour. From 73 recorded plays 55 showed agonistic behaviour; 40 were running games. Mounting was observed only once. 10. Naso-nasal and naso-genital testing are described. The former was observed exclusively in spring, the other almost exclusively in fall. 11. During the rut, cow moose can be aggressive towards other cow moose and yearlings. 12. Bull moose in rut dig rutting pits with their front legs. They may urinate into the pit as frequently as 10 times in succession. The bull wallows in the pit. Cows were seen to wallow in a bull's rutting pit on two occasions. 13. Calf and yearling moose can be occasionally surprisingly tame, if not in the company of adult moose. In adults, the first reaction to disturbance, is usually to freeze in an attention posture. They may urinate on their hind legs. Moose frequently stop in flight and look back at the cause of disturbance. 14. Moose may or may not flee from black bear. An observation of a bear molesting a cow moose with her calf is recorded. Moose were observed in winter to retreat from the vicinity of wolves. 15. An average of four activity peaks during daylight hours was found in spring and early summer (Fig. 17). Activity periods in winter (90-100 min.) were about two and a half times as long as in summer (30-40 min.). Resting periods were about equal in length (140-160 min.). Nearly 90-100% of the summer activity period was spent in feeding. Activity periods in morning and evening were longer than during the mid-day. In summer, moose feed every 2-3 hours. 16. No territory of the fixed geographic type was found in moose. Moose appear to have an "individual distance". The home range consists of summer and winter range. The summer range is in the subalpine zone and like the winter range seems to be of limited extent.

Affiliations: 1: (Parks Branch, Department of Recreation and Conservation, British Columbia, Canada

10.1163/156853963X00095
/content/journals/10.1163/156853963x00095
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/content/journals/10.1163/156853963x00095
1963-01-01
2016-12-11

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