Diet Composition and Habitat Use by Red Deer in Two Rewilded Mountain Areas

Araceli Gort Esteve, J. L. Riera, Jordi Ruiz-Olmo, Aaron Pérez-Haase, Jordi Bartolome Filella

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The abandonment of extensive livestock farming has led to an increase in wild populations taking advantage of the vacuum in the trophic level of the habitats previously occupied by herds. Determining the composition of the diet is crucial to understand the level of adaptation of these new populations, as well as the potential impact on the new occupied habitats. The composition of the diet can also determine the type of the habitat use. This study compared the diet composition between two ecologically differentiated mountain Pyrenean areas, as well as between seasons and sexes. Additionally, a possible relationship between the habitats around the capture point and the diet composition was also sought. The results indicated a significant difference between the two areas, with a higher consumption of graminoids in the Axial Pyrenees and woody plants in the PrePyrenees. On the other hand, the results showed that there was no seasonal pattern in the Axial Pyrenees, while it did exist in the Pre-Pyrenees. Significant differences were also found between the consumption of woody plants and herbaceous plants between sexes. In the case of the Pre-Pyrenees, the consumption of woody plants was higher for females, which has not been found in the literature, where it is concluded that males are more browser. Finally, differences were also found between the two areas in habitat use. In the Axial Pyrenees, the main use of the habitat was for refuge, whereas in the Pre-Pyrenees, it was for feeding, which is related to the harshness of the climate in the northernmost area.
Idioma originalEnglish
Número d’article16000493
Pàgines (de-a)1-13
RevistaInternational Journal of Zoology and Animal Biology
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 2023

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