Space use analyses suggest avoidance of a ski area by mountain goats

Authors: Hénault Richard, JulienCôté, Steeve D.
Abstract: The development of recreational activities imposes growing anthropogenic pressure on wilderness areas worldwide. Because anthropogenic disturbances may modify wildlife use of habitat, space use studies may be useful to identify wildlife response to recreational activities. Mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) are highly sensitive to anthropogenic disturbances and are thus likely to modify their space use in response to recreational activities. From 2011 to 2013, we studied space use of mountain goats in Jasper National Park, Canada, one of the most popular wilderness areas in North America, and assessed how it was influenced by an alpine ski area. Comparison of predicted use from habitat selection models and observed use defined by global positioning system collar data revealed ski area avoidance. The immediate surroundings of the ski area were, however, not avoided by mountain goats, but the presence of a natural salt lick <1 km from the ski area may have contributed to the observed mountain goat use of these areas. Ski activities have the potential to exclude mountain goats from habitat with otherwise high probability of use. Thus, we recommend that future ski area developments generally consider the behavior of species sensitive to anthropogenic disturbances and that construction should not occur in habitat essential for sensitive species like mountain goats.
Document Type: Article de recherche
Issue Date: 29 March 2016
Open Access Date: Restricted access
Document version: VoR
This document was published in: The Journal of Wildlife Management, Vol. 80 (3), 387–395 (2016)
Wildlife Society
Alternative version: 10.1002/jwmg.1028
Collection:Articles publiés dans des revues avec comité de lecture

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