Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Slowing down wolves to protect boreal caribou populations: a spatial simulation model of linear feature restoration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Author(s)

Matthias C. Spangenberg, Robert Serrouya, Melanie Dickie, Craig A. DeMars, Théo Michelot, Stan Boutin, Meike J. Wittmann

School/Research organisations

Abstract

In Canada, boreal caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) are declining in numbers, in part due to increased predation by wolves (Canis lupus). One management option to reduce wolf–caribou interactions and thus protect caribou is to remove man‐made linear features (LFs), structures such as roads, trails, and cut lines, which are used by wolves as traveling paths. Linear features increase wolf traveling speed and could additionally facilitate wolf entry into caribou habitat. Our goal was to quantify the expected effect of LF removal on caribou mortality and investigate whether this LF restoration could be a sufficient measure to stop caribou declines. We simulated the effects of LF restoration on caribou adult and calf survival in spatially explicit wolf–caribou encounter models. The models were parameterized using Global Positioning System (GPS) data, hidden Markov models (HMMs), and information from the published literature. Complete LF restoration decreased wolf traveling speed and thus reduced caribou mortality. The proportional reduction in adult caribou mortality ranged from 10 to 25% of its original value, and the proportional reduction in calf mortality ranged from 8 to 23%, depending on caribou density, number of wolf packs, kill probability given an encounter, and detection distance of wolves for caribou. Building on the model output, we used empirical caribou data to calculate the effects of reduced mortalities on the finite rate of annual population change, λ. Assuming that 25% or less of calf mortality was wolf‐related, λ stayed below one, that is, populations kept declining, even with complete LF restoration. With 50% of calf mortality due to wolves, caribou populations stopped declining ( λ≥1) if adult and calf mortality were reduced by at least 19 to 24%. However, these values were not achieved in a majority of the parameter combinations in our study, not even with complete LF restoration. Given that LF restoration as a single measure is unlikely to stop boreal caribou populations from declining, we used a case example to illustrate how LF restoration could make a small contribution in a portfolio of short‐term and long‐term management options to reduce wolf predation on caribou.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02904
Number of pages17
JournalEcosphere
Volume10
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2019

    Research areas

  • Alberta, Apparent competition, Boreal woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou), Caribou conservation, Hidden Markov model, Linear feature restoration, Predator–prey interaction, Recruitment–mortality equation, Wolf (Canis lupus)

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Inference in MCMC step selection models

    Michelot, T., Blackwell, P. G., Chamaillé-Jammes, S. & Matthiopoulos, J., 26 Oct 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Biometrics. In press

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. The Langevin diffusion as a continuous-time model of animal movement and habitat selection

    Michelot, T., Gloaguen, P., Blackwell, P. G. & Etienne, M-P., 24 Aug 2019, In : Methods in Ecology and Evolution. Early View

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Fine-scale movement patterns and behavioral states of gray triggerfish Balistes capriscus determined from acoustic telemetry and hidden Markov models

    Bacheler, N. M., Michelot, T., Cheshire, R. T. & Shertzer, K. W., Jul 2019, In : Fisheries Research. 215, p. 76-89 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. State-switching continuous-time correlated random walks

    Michelot, T. & Blackwell, P. G., 14 Feb 2019, In : Methods in Ecology and Evolution. Early View

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Ecosphere (Journal)

    Sophie Caroline Smout (Reviewer)
    24 May 2018

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

Related by journal

  1. A new approach to estimate fecundity rate from inter-birth intervals

    Arso Civil, M., Cheney, B., Quick, N. J., Thompson, P. M. & Hammond, P. S., Apr 2017, In : Ecosphere. 8, 4, 10 p., e01796.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Individual, ecological, and anthropogenic influences on activity budgets of long-finned pilot whales

    Isojunno, S., Sadykova, D., DeRuiter, S., Curé, C., Visser, F., Thomas, L., Miller, P. J. O. & Harris, C. M., Dec 2017, In : Ecosphere. 8, 12, 26 p., e02044.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Mate limitation in sea lice infesting wild salmon hosts: the influence of parasite sex ratio and aggregation

    Cox, R., Groner, M., Todd, C. D., Gettinby, G., Patanasatienkul, P. & Revie, C., Dec 2017, In : Ecosphere. 8, 12, 19 p., e02040.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Responses of bottlenose dolphins and harbor porpoises to impact and vibration piling noise during harbor construction

    Graham, I., Pirotta, E., Merchant, N., Farcas, A., Barton, T., Cheney, B., Hastie, G. D. & Thompson, P., May 2017, In : Ecosphere. 8, 5, 16 p., e01793.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 262322495

Top