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Effects of Road Management on Movement and Survival of Roosevelt Elk

Eric K. Cole, Michael D. Pope and Robert G. Anthony
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 61, No. 4 (Oct., 1997), pp. 1115-1126
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3802109
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3802109
Page Count: 12
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Abstract

Road closures frequently are used to manage for Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni), but no studies have evaluated the effects of limited vehicle access on movements and survival of Roosevelt elk (C. elaphus roosevelti). We studied movements and survival of female Roosevelt elk before Road Management Areas (RMA) were designated, and during limited vehicular access from 1991 to 1995. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) instituted a limited-vehicle access program on 35% of the study area in 1992. We found a reduction in core area size (P = 0.002) and home range size (P = 0.077) during limited vehicle access. There was also a reduction in daily movement of elk (P = 0.0001), and there was a negative correlation between daily movements and percent association of elk home ranges with RMA. There was an increase in survival rate (P = 0.03) during the limited-vehicular access period compared to the pre-RMA period, and survival rate declined following the removal of the gates (P = 0.05). Our data suggest that limited-vehicular access reduces human disturbance that results in reduced movements and poaching (increased survival) of Roosevelt elk. Such methods should be considered for other elk populations.

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