Reindeer movement patterns in alpine summer ranges
2010 (English)In: Polar Biology, ISSN 0722-4060, E-ISSN 1432-2056, Vol. 33, no 9, 1263-1275 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
To evaluate the movement rates of semidomesticated reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) during the bare-ground season, we used successive GPS positions from 48 female reindeer. Data were collected during the summers of 2002 and 2003 in two Sámi reindeer herding districts in the Swedish mountains, Handölsdalen, and Sirges. The movement rates were analysed at different time periods: over the whole season, and over the sub-seasons spring, and early summer, mid summer and early autumn. Variation in movements were analysed in relation to vegetation type, altitude, terrain ruggedness, temperature, wind speed, and proximity to hiking trails. We hypothesised that the foraging quality and different weather conditions is an important factor in determining movement rates. We found that reindeer movement rates were similar between study areas and were dependent on vegetation type and on weather conditions. Studying the circadian movements, in mid summer period when daytime oestrid activity are expected to be high, the reindeer stayed at higher altitudes where food quality was low, but moved to low altitudes at night where the food quality was higher. Therefore, we suggest that oestrid activity forces the reindeer to stay in low-quality vegetation types. Reindeer movements were linked to disturbance in areas of intermediate human activity. We found that in Handölsdalen, where hikers are abundant, the movement rates of reindeer decreased closer to the trails whereas in Sirges, where hikers are less abundant, the movement rates of reindeer increased closer to the trails.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 33, no 9, 1263-1275 p.
movement rates, temperature, wind speed, GPS collars, ungulates, insect harassment, human disturbance
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-35573DOI: 10.1007/s00300-010-0815-yISI: 000280802000010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-35573DiVA: diva2:345190