Conservation Biology, Oct, 2012, Vol.26(5), p.769(9)
To purchase or authenticate to the full-text of this article, please visit this link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2012.01896.x/abstract Byline: JOEL BERGER(1) Keywords: conservation policy; moose; muskoxen; orphans; overwinter survival; photogrammetry Abstract: Photography, including remote imagery and camera traps, has contributed substantially to conservation. However, the potential to use photography to understand demography and inform policy is limited. To have practical value, remote assessments must be reasonably accurate and widely deployable. Prior efforts to develop noninvasive methods of estimating trait size have been motivated by a desire to answer evolutionary questions, measure physiological growth, or, in the case of illegal trade, assess economics of horn sizes; but rarely have such methods been directed at conservation. Here I demonstrate a simple, noninvasive photographic technique and address how knowledge of values of individual-specific metrics bears on conservation policy. I used 10 years of data on juvenile moose (Alces alces) to examine whether body size and probability of survival are positively correlated in cold climates. I investigated whether the presence of mothers improved juvenile survival. The posited latter relation is relevant to policy because harvest of adult females has been permitted in some Canadian and American jurisdictions under the assumption that probability of survival of young is independent of maternal presence. The accuracy of estimates of head sizes made from photographs exceeded 98%. The estimates revealed that overwinter juvenile survival had no relation to the juvenile's estimated mass (p 〈 0.64) and was more strongly associated with maternal presence (p 〈 0.02) than winter snow depth (p 〈 0.18). These findings highlight the effects on survival of a social dynamic (the mother-young association) rather than body size and suggest a change in harvest policy will increase survival. Furthermore, photographic imaging of growth of individual juvenile muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) over 3 Arctic winters revealed annual variability in size, which supports the idea that noninvasive monitoring may allow one to detect how some environmental conditions ultimately affect body growth. Author Affiliation: (1)Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, U.S.A. and Northern Rockies Field Office, Wildlife Conservation Society, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, U.S.A., email firstname.lastname@example.org Paper submitted July 12, 2011; revised manuscript accepted January 13, 2012.
Wildlife Conservation -- Physiological Aspects ; Moose -- Physiological Aspects
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