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Factors Affecting Calf Mortality in Red Deer (Cervus elaphus)

F. E. Guinness, T. H. Clutton-Brock and S. D. Albon
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 47, No. 3 (Oct., 1978), pp. 817-832
DOI: 10.2307/3673
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3673
Page Count: 18
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Factors Affecting Calf Mortality in Red Deer (Cervus elaphus)
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Abstract

(1) The paper investigates the factors affecting calf survival between 1971 and 1976 in the red deer population of the North Block of the Isle of Rhum, Scotland. (2) On average, 18% of all calves born in the study area died before the end of September and a further 11% died during the winter and early spring. (3) There was no overall difference in mortality between stag and hind calves. However, light-born hind calves were more likely to die than light-born stag calves whereas heavy-born stag calves were more likely to die than heavy-born hind calves. (4) Mortality during the first 6 months of life was higher among the offspring of young and old hinds than among those of 7-10-year-olds. (5) Overall mortality did not differ between calves born to milk and yeld hinds. However, medium weight calves born to yeld hinds were more likely to die than similar calves born to milk hinds. (6) Winter mortality was higher among the offspring of hinds using the part of the study area where population density was highest. (7) Very light calves were more likely to die in summer than heavier calves. (8) Late-born calves showed higher mortality than those born early or within the main birth period. (9) Changes in winter (but not summer) mortality were correlated with increasing population density of hinds in the study area.

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