Drivers of woodland caribou calf survival in the Rocky Mountain foothills: a landscape with anthropogenic disturbance and multi-carnivore predation risk

Throughout western Canada, declines in woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus) continue at unprecedented rates. Caribou calves are especially vulnerable in their first four weeks of life, after the calving period. During this time, mother caribou must effectively select habitat that is rich in food resources, but also minimizes likelihood of predation. In the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, the predator community is large, including
wolf, black bear, grizzly bear, cougar and wolverine, meaning avoidance of areas with high predation risk is important. Using an array of camera traps in the Rockies, I estimate predator distributions for the entire predator community, and combine this with telemetry data of two mountain caribou herds to investigate how female caribou select habitat to balance these costs, and the effect this has on the survival of their calves.
Understanding drivers of caribou calf survival will inform management and aid in the development of recovery plans for these herds.

Faculty Supervisor:

John Volpe


Gillian Fraser


InnoTech Alberta Inc


Environmental sciences


Environmental industry




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