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Habitat Selection by Feral Horses in the Alberta Foothills

  • Author / Creator
    Bevan, Tisa L
  • Populations of feral horses have been increasing in the Alberta foothills and pose a concern to the conservation of native grasslands. Sustainable management of feral horses requires information on their habitat use. I utilized spatial data from radio-collared mares to assess seasonal habitat selection for two years beginning November of 2008. Field data were gathered to compare localized habitat use by feral horses, cattle and wild ungulates during summer. Grasslands were consistently selected while conifer forests avoided. Cutblocks were selected only in winter. Feral horse use of vegetation increased within open habitats and decreased with increased human disturbance (i.e. roads, trails and cutlines). Based on pellet surveys, horses use increased with disturbance, was positively related with cattle use, and more likely to occur in open habitat, but decreased with increasingly rugged terrain and greater wild ungulate use. Information provided by this study may necessitate changes to regional range management plans.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2012-06
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3B01B
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Department of Agricultural, Food, and Nutritional Science
  • Specialization
    • Rangeland and Wildlife Resources
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Bork, Edward (Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Science)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Merrill, Evelyn (Biological Sciences)
    • Bork, Edward (Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Science)
    • Nielsen, Scott (Renewable Resources)
    • Irving, Barry (Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Sciences)