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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Home range behavior of Roosevelt elk in Strathcona Park Sovka, David G.


This thesis investigates the population, group composition, and home rangesizes of 5 groups of Roosevelt elk (Cervus elaphus roosev -It) in 4 regions of Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Ten elk were successfully radio-collared and re-located for 12-21 months, beginning in March 1991, and ending in January 1993. Eight of the 10 study animals were non-migratory. Sizes of cumulative and seasonal ranges, and core use areas were determined for each study animal using the harmonic mean estimator of Program Home Range. Three seasonal models (summer, mild winter, and severe winter) of habitat suitability were tested using a non-migratory elk group. A Geographic Information System (GIS) was used to create a digital map of the study area. The models were applied to the map to generate habitat suitability values for each of the polygons comprising the study area. This study provides additional support for a correlation between habitat suitability as predicted by the model and elk habitat selection. Elk were not randomly selecting habitats in the study area with respect to modeled habitat suitability values. Habitat suitability of elk cumulative range was higher than portions of the study area unused by elk. Core use areas had higher habitat suitability than cumulative range. No one model best predicted the habitat suitability of the home range selected by the non-migratory study animals. Use of the model as a predictor of suitable elk habitat in areas currently unused by elk is validated, but not warranted given the time and money required to collect the information necessary to use the model.

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