Sélection de l'habitat, dynamique de population et utilisation de l'espace du caribou des monts Torngat

Authors: Bélanger, Édouard
Advisor: Côté, Steeve D.
Abstract: The Torngat Mountains caribou herd in northeastern Québec-Labrador is rapidly declining. Few studies have examined the causes of this decline and little is known about the habitat selection, survival and space use of this herd. Using 35 caribou equipped with satellite collars between 2011 and 2015, we evaluated the Torngat Mountains caribou habitat selection at two different spatial and temporal scales, survival, and effect of harvest on future population trends. We also evaluated the Torngat Mountains caribou space use in relationship with its neighbor, the Rivière-George migratory caribou. We found little variation in habitat selection between the two spatial scales studied. However, there was variation in factors limiting habitat selection among different seasons. Habitat selection was primarily driven by resource availability and abundance during winter and pre-calving, by insect avoidance in summer and by the presence of graminoids during the rut. Although predation is known to be the main limiting factor of caribou populations and habitat selection by female caribou during calving, we found no evidence of predator avoidance behavior during this season. Moreover, we showed that the population decline was primarily attributed to low survival of adult females due to subsistence hunting and predation. We also found that the overlap between the two populations has decreased in the last 25 years due to a decline in Rivière-George herd abundance. This could result in decreased genetic exchanges and immigration between herds. Using demographic models, we showed that the Torngat Mountains caribou would rapidly decline if no management actions were taken to increase adult survival.
Document Type: Mémoire de maîtrise
Issue Date: 2017
Open Access Date: 24 April 2018
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/27772
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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