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Interactions between moose, elk and buffalo in Elk Island National Park, Alberta Holsworth, William Norton

Abstract

A study of the interactions between moose (Alces alces), elk (Cervus canadensis) and buffalo (Bison bison) was carried out during the summer of 1959 in Elk Island National Park, Alberta. The interactions studied were the possibility of competition for food and habitat, transmission of disease and dominance relations. A description of the Park is given. The distribution, habitat selection and food habits of each of the three species are discussed. The greatest interaction between these animals occurs through their effects on the range. Data, collected over the past years, on the incidence of brucellosis and its effect on the reproductive rate and health of the animals are presented. The high incidence of brucellosis in buffalo indicates that they are the source of the organism infecting moose and elk. Buffalo were found to be dominant over moose and elk. The effects of the existing dominance relations could not be evaluated.

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