Article

An unusual record of a White-tailed Deer, Odocoileus virginianus, in the Northwest Territories

Authors:
Article

An unusual record of a White-tailed Deer, Odocoileus virginianus, in the Northwest Territories

If you want to read the PDF, try requesting it from the authors.

Abstract

The most northern record of White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), approximately 100 km south of the Arctic Circle in the Northwest Territories (N.W.T.), is described. This and other observations from the N.W.T. and southeastern Yukon extend the known northern limit for White-tailed Deer in North America.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) have been expanding their range into the North American boreal forest over the last half of the 20th century (Webb 1967;Veitch 2001). At the start of the 20th century, the northern range edge for white-tailed deer roughly followed the southern edge of the boreal forest from Alberta to New Brunswick, Canada (McCabe and McCabe 1984). ...
... The northern extent of sightings now extends as far north as Norman Wells, North West Territories, and Dawson, Yukon (65.17°and 64.04°latitude, respectively), and presence is common throughout southwestern Northwest Territories and northeastern BC (T. Jung, personal communication, 12 June 2014, Veitch 2001. ...
... The pattern predicted here indicates the probability of presence increasing northward along the Peace, Loon, Wabasca, Athabasca, and Christina rivers. The most northerly occurrence record of white-tailed deer was also along a major river, the MacKenzie River near Fort Good Hope in Northwest Territories and two other sightings were reported further south in that river valley (Veitch 2001). The predicted distribution for the 1960s was similar to the distribution shown by Webb (1967), developed from interviews with homesteaders, surveyors, guides, trappers, and Fish and Wildlife Officers. ...
Article
Full-text available
Quantifying the relative influence of multiple mechanisms driving recent range expansion of non-native species is essential for predicting future changes and for informing adaptation and management plans to protect native species. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) have been expanding their range into the North American boreal forest over the last half of the 20th century. This has already altered predator–prey dynamics in Alberta, Canada, where the distribution likely reaches the northern extent of its continuous range. Although current white-tailed deer distribution is explained by both climate and human land use, the influence each factor had on the observed range expansion would depend on the spatial and temporal pattern of these changes. Our objective was to quantify the relative importance of land use and climate change as drivers of white-tailed deer range expansion and to predict decadal changes in white-tailed deer distribution in northern Alberta for the first half of the 21st century. An existing species distribution model was used to predict past decadal distributions of white-tailed deer which were validated using independent data. The effects of climate and land use change were isolated by comparing predictions under theoretical “no-change between decades” scenarios, for each factor, to predictions under observed climate and land use change. Climate changes led to more than 88%, by area, of the increases in probability of white-tailed deer presence across all decades. The distribution is predicted to extend 100 km further north across the northeastern Alberta boreal forest as climate continues to change over the first half of the 21st century.
... Natural and anthropogenic disturbances aside, climate change has altered in the historical caribou-moose-wolf system in northern Alberta. Over the last half of the 20 th century, white-tailed deer have been expanding their northern distribution into the boreal forest of Alberta, and the Northwest Territories (Webb 1967, Veitch 2001. Recent warmer winters are believed to have contributed this range expansion (Côté et al. 2004, Dawe 2011, Dawe and Boutin 2016. ...
... Moose have extended their geographic distribution northward by 200 -700 km since 1875 (Hatter 1950), and most recently, white-tailed deer have extended into the boreal forests of Alberta and the Northwest Territories (Webb 1967, Veitch 2001. Comprehensive and detailed data on moose and white-tailed deer foraging ecology throughout most of the boreal successional pathway are sparse, yet highly important to assess the feasibility of managing alternative prey population and expansion as a management tool. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Understanding how species respond to wildfires and climate change is fundamental for land use management and biodiversity conservation. Wildfires provide generalist ungulates, such as moose (Alces alces) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), with high quantity and quality of winter browse. Climate change, however, is expected to reduce winter severity by creating milder winter conditions and increasing winter food availability for ungulates through changes in vegetation and fire regime. The goal of this thesis was to investigate the effects of wildfires and climate change on moose and white-tailed deer winter forage and habitat quality in the boreal mixedwoods of northeastern Alberta, Canada. First, I examined the changes in winter browse richness, evenness, abundance, and community composition, as well as their use (browse levels) by moose and white- tailed deer, in post-wildfire upland and lowland forests over a 150-year post-wildfire period. In the summer of 2019, I collected vegetation and ungulate browsing data from 164 upland and lowland forest sites in northeastern Alberta. I used analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) and ordinal logistic regression to examine changes in browse measures. Second, I assessed the long-term effects of climate-induced wildfires and vegetation change on the distribution and quality of moose and white-tailed deer winter habitat in the boreal mixedwoods. I developed a winter habitat quality model for moose and white-tailed deer based on predicted changes in vegetation (i.e., static and fire-mediated) and fire regime (i.e., constrained and unconstrained) under an RCP 8.5 climate scenario in the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s. Species richness and evenness peaked at both 10 – 25 years and 90 years post-wildfire in mixedwood forests, as a result of fluctuations in preferred and highly palatable browse species, while browse abundance remained constant. Black spruce and lowland forests had similar species richness, evenness, and abundance over the 150-year chronosequence. Browse abundance in lowland forests was higher than mixedwood forests, but consisted of low palatable browse. Therefore, wildfires in boreal mixedwoods provided higher foraging availability for ungulates in upland forests for far longer than reported in other boreal forests, whereas wildfires in lowland forests do not recruit preferred winter browse species consumed by ungulates. In the absence of vegetation change, moose and white-tailed deer winter habitat is projected to remain similar to baseline conditions; thus, climate-induced wildfires will continue to provide high amounts of winter forage resulting in higher moose populations and continuous expansion of white-tailed deer populations in northeastern Alberta. However, the expansion of deciduous forests in the boreal mixedwoods in the 2050s is projected to decrease moose and white-tailed deer winter habitat quality. Deciduous forests will further provide high quantity and quality forage, but the absence of coniferous cover will result in higher wolf predation risk for moose and white-tailed deer. Finally, the transition between deciduous and mixedwood forests to grasslands in the 2080s is projected to significantly reduce winter habitat quality as moose and white-tailed deer do not have the capacity to incorporate high amount of grasses, sedges and forbs in their winter diets.
... Search keyword combinations preferred, balsam fir (Abies balsamea) has been shown to be the dominant diet in winter (Crête and Courtois, 1997;Routh and Nielsen, 2021). In the past decades, white-tailed deer have expanded their habitats into the northern boreal forests, as far as Northwest Canada (Veitch, 2001;Côté et al., 2004;Latham et al., 2011;Dawe et al., 2014). The preferred diet of white-tailed deer is similar to moose (Bowman et al., 2010), except at a lower height (<1.5 m, versus 2.5 m for moose). ...
Article
Full-text available
Global warming has been accelerating as atmospheric CO2 has risen. The mean annual temperature in boreal forests has increased by 1.5 °C or more, which has profound impacts on plants and wildlife. This overview explores available literature, identifies current knowledge gaps, highlights hypotheses about the cascading effects of global warming in a boreal forest food chain, and suggests future research directions. Our climate-driven bottom-up trophic interaction hypotheses explore climate change effects on boreal plants via five mechanisms: nutrient dilution, water stress, wildfires, snow depth, and phenology shifts. Ungulates may experience longer foraging time and reduced biomass due to less nutritious food resources. As a result, carnivores might benefit from increased stationary prey encounter and vulnerable individuals, but also need to cope with decreased prey biomass and increased energetic expenditure in hunting. We recommend increasing research efforts on nutrient dilution of northern plants, range shifts in northern herbivores that might lead to competition among them, and overall impacts of climate change on wolves.
... As with industrial activity, the mechanism is still through increased primary prey and wolf densities, but in this instance global warming is responsible for increases in ungulate densities, particularly white-tailed deer (Côté et al. 2004). In Alberta and North America more generally, white-tailed deer have extended northward into woodland caribou range (Côté et al. 2004, Latham andBoutin 2008), and have been reported as far north as the Northwest Territories, Canada (Veitch 2001). Because white-tailed deer are most common in uplands (Latham 2009), a spill-over effect that includes an increased use of peatlands by deer and wolves and consequently higher incidental predation on caribou might similarly occur under a global warming scenario (Holt 1984, Müller andGodfray 1997). ...
Article
Full-text available
Human-caused habitat change has been implicated in current woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) population declines across North America. Increased early seral habitat associated with industrial footprint can result in an increase in ungulate densities and subsequently those of their predator, wolves (Canis lupus). Higher wolf densities can result in increased encounters between wolves and caribou and consequently higher caribou mortality. We contrasted changes in moose (Alces alces) and deer (Odocoileus spp.) densities and assessed their effects on wolf–caribou dynamics in northeastern Alberta, Canada, pre (1994–1997) versus post (2005–2009) major industrial expansion in the region. Observable white-tailed deer (O. virginianus) increased 17.5-fold but moose remained unchanged. Wolf numbers also increased from approximately 6–11.5/1,000 km2. Coincident with these changes, spatial overlap between wolf pack territories and caribou range was high relative to the mid-1990s. The high number of wolf locations in caribou range suggests that forays were not merely exploratory, but rather represented hunting forays and denning locations. Scat analysis indicated that wolf consumption of moose declined substantively during this time period, whereas use of deer increased markedly and deer replaced moose as the primary prey of wolves. Caribou increased 10-fold in the diet of wolves and caribou population trends in the region changed from stable to declining. Wolf use of beaver (Castor canadensis) increased since the mid-1990s. We suggest that recent declines in woodland caribou populations in the southerly extent of their range have occurred because high deer densities resulted in a numeric response by wolves and consequently higher incidental predation on caribou. Our results indicate that management actions to conserve caribou must now include deer in primary prey and wolf reduction programs. © 2010 The Wildlife Society
... This is the only known occurrence of muskoxen in the Mackenzies, but muskox numbers and range are expanding west of Great Bear Lake (Veitch 1997) Reports of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) have been received in the vicinity of Nahanni Butte at the south end of the range and there have been reports of mule and white-tailed deer within the borders of Nahanni National Park Reserve since the 1970's and 1980's. In recent years both mule deer and white-tailed deer have been moving northwards in the Yukon (Hoefs 2001) and white-tailed deer along the Mackenzie River Valley in the Northwest Territories (Veitch 2001). Within the last few years, elk (Cervus elaphus) have also been seen and harvested near the community of Nahanni Butte at the south end of the Mackenzie Mountains. ...
Book
Full-text available
Mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) are the least studied ungulate species that occurs in the Northwest Territories. The distribution of goats in the territory – both historically and at present - is limited to the lower half of the 130,000 km2 Mackenzie Mountains between the Yukon-NWT border and the east edge of the range, including a portion of Nahanni National Park Reserve. Due to the limited annual harvest of goats and the extremely high cost for doing research in this remote region - few surveys to estimate size of mountain goat populations have occurred in the Mackenzie Mountains. Biologists working with federal and territorial wildlife agencies, Parks Canada, and private environmental consulting companies have sporadically collected limited information about mountain goats during the course of studies on other species in the Mackenzies since 1966. In 2001, we interviewed each of the 8 outfitters licenced to provide services to non-resident hunters in the Mackenzie Mountains to document their
... The distribution and abundance of predators, alternate prey, and parasites or diseases may also be affected by climate change. Several species may move northwards as is occurring with moose (Norment et al. 1999) and white-tailed deer (Veitch 2001). For Migratory Tundra caribou, it is urgent to understand how current and projected environmental trends in arctic Canada may affect population recovery. ...
Article
Full-text available
Caribou (Rangifer tarandus (L., 1758)) play a central role in the ecology and culture of much of Canada, where they were once the most abundant cervid. Most populations are currently declining, and some face extirpation. In southern Canada, caribou range has retreated considerably over the past century. The ultimate reason for their decline is habitat alterations by industrial activities. The proximate causes are predation and, to a lesser extent, overharvest. The most southerly populations of “Mountain” caribou are at imminent risk of extirpation. Mountain caribou are threatened by similar industrial activities as Boreal caribou, and face increasing harassment from motorized winter recreational activities. Most populations of “Migratory Tundra” caribou are currently declining. Although these caribou fluctuate in abundance over decades, changing harvest technologies, climate change, increasing industrial development and human presence in the North raise doubts over whether recent declines will be followed by recoveries. The Peary caribou (Rangifer tarandus pearyi J.A. Allen, 1902), a distinct subspecies endemic to Canada’s High Arctic, has suffered drastic declines caused by severe weather, hunting and predation. It faces an increasing threat from climate change. While some questions remain about the reasons for the decline of Migratory Tundra caribou, research has clearly identified several threats to the persistence of “Boreal”, Mountain, and Peary caribou. Scientific knowledge, however, has neither effectively influenced policies nor galvanized public opinion sufficiently to push governments into effective actions. The persistence of many caribou populations appears incompatible with the ongoing pace of industrial development.
... White-tailed deer are the primary prey of cougars in west-central Alberta (Knopff et al. 2010b), and it seems reasonable to hypothesize that northward expansion of white-tailed deer might facilitate cougar expansion into higher latitudes. White-tailed deer are now present in the Yukon and Northwest Territories (Hoefs 2001, Veitch 2001 and, at least occasionally, so are cougars (Jung and Merchant 2005). ...
Article
In Alberta, Canada, number of cougar (Puma concolor) mortalities caused by humans has increased rapidly over the past 2 decades. Management agencies sometimes use human-caused mortalities as an index of cougar population trend, which would indicate an increasing cougar population in Alberta, but mortalities may be decoupled from cougar numbers. Some authors suggest that higher human-caused cougar mortalities (primarily due to sport hunting) are causing cougar populations in North America to decline. We used the distribution of human-caused cougar mortalities in Alberta to evaluate change in cougar populations during 1991–2010, a period over which human-caused cougar mortality increased rapidly. We provide evidence that cougars have expanded their range in northern and eastern Alberta in tandem with increasing sport hunting and other sources of human-caused mortality. © 2013 The Wildlife Society.
... White-tailed deer have been expanding their northern distribution into the boreal forest over the last half of the 20th century (Webb 1967;Veitch 2001). Although there are many possible hypotheses to explain this expansion, there are two that receive considerable attention: (1) human land use and (2) changing climate. ...
Article
Understanding the factors that drive species distributions is emerging as an important tool in wildlife management, under unprecedented changes in species ranges. While invasion ecologists have long studied the impact of human land use on species’ distributions, and models developed more recently to explain changes in species range boundaries have been largely parameterized by climate variables, few authors have considered climate and land-use factors together to explain species distribution. The purpose of this study was to test two main competing hypotheses involving human land use and climate effects on white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus (Zimmermann, 1780)) distribution, which has expanded into the boreal ecosystem in recent decades. Using a species distribution modeling approach with data from boreal Alberta, we found that climate, as measured by an index of winter severity, was the most important individual factor determining current white-tailed deer distribution in boreal Alberta. Human land use (as measured by total land-use footprint) acted to substantially increase white-tailed deer presence but only in areas with more severe winter conditions. We use our findings to recommend where limiting or reclaiming the industrial footprint may be most beneficial to limiting white-tailed deer distribution.
... Reports of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) have been received in the vicinity of Nahanni Butte at the south end of the range and there have been reports of mule and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) within the borders of Nahanni National Park Reserve since the 1970's and 1980's. In recent years both mule deer and white-tailed deer have been moving northwards into the Yukon (Hoefs 2001) and white-tailed deer along the Mackenzie River Valley in the Northwest Territories (Veitch 2001). Within the last few years, elk (Cervus elaphus) have also been seen and harvested near the community of Nahanni Butte at the south end of the Mackenzie Mountains. ...
... White-tailed Deer (O. virginianus) are only rarely sighted in the Taiga Shield (unpublished data; Veitch 2001). Wood Bison (Bison bison athabascae) have expanded their range into the area since 1999 but this may adversely impact Coyotes if Wolf numbers also increase. ...
Article
Full-text available
Coyotes (Canis latrans) have resided in the Northwest Territories for several decades but have only rarely been sighted north of Great Slave Lake (>62° N. latitude) in the Taiga Shield ecozone. Records show Coyotes have been seen since the 1960s. Prior to 2000, evidence of Coyotes breeding in the Taiga Shield has been anecdotal. In 2000, a Coyote was repeatedly seen at the Yellowknife airport and in 2001, a pair of Coyotes was observed with two pups. Since then, Coyote pups have been observed annually at the airport and adult Coyotes are seen regularly within the city of Yellowknife, an urban island within the Taiga Shield ecozone. Unlike in most regions occupied by Coyotes, medium-sized prey are rarely seen. Recently, Coyotes have become a potential hazard to aircraft at the Yellowknife airport. Although Coyotes appear to have established themselves within the city of Yellowknife, maintaining a presence beyond the urbanized area remains uncertain.
... Although the distributional changes of Rangifer populations can have demographic effects, these populations also might be affected by the range expansions of other species. The northern expansion of ungulate species, such as moose (Alces alces) (Norment et al. 1999) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) (Veitch 2001;Dawe and Boutin 2016) could increase interspecific competition for certain forage species and introduce novel pathogens to Rangifer populations (Kutz et al. 2009). For example, increases in productivity on the tundra and more frequent wildfire activity (which increases the proportion of immature to mature forests) on migratory caribou winter ranges (see section below) is predicted to improve habitat quality for moose and resultantly increase their abundance on caribou ranges (Sharma et al. 2009;Joly et al. 2012). ...
Article
Full-text available
The ability of many species to adapt to the shifting environmental conditions associated with climate change will be a key determinant of their persistence in the coming decades. This is a challenge already faced by species in the Arctic, where rapid environmental change is well underway. Caribou and reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) play a key role in Arctic ecosystems and provide irreplaceable socioeconomic value to many northern peoples. Recent decades have seen declines in many Rangifer populations, and there is strong concern that climate change is threatening the viability of this iconic Arctic species. We examine the literature to provide a thorough and full consideration of the many environmental factors that limit caribou and reindeer populations, and how these might be affected by a warming climate. Our review suggests that the response of Rangifer populations to climate change is, and will continue to be, varied in large part to their broad circumpolar distribution. While caribou and reindeer could have some resilience to climate change, current global trends in abundance undermine all but the most precautionary outlooks. Ultimately, the conservation of Rangifer populations will require careful management that considers the local and regional manifestations of climate change.
... Increasing and expanding prey populations may destabilize existing predator-prey dynamics, leading to fluctuations and reductions of native species via competition or apparent competition (Holt 1977, Serrouya et al. 2015. In North America, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations have increased in abundance and expanded their distribution since the late 1900s (Webb 1967, Veitch 2001, Côté et al. 2004, Dawe and Boutin 2016, Hanberry and Hanberry 2020. The expansion of white-tailed deer is implicated in the decline of woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in western Canada (Latham et al. 2011, Hervieux et al. 2013. ...
Article
Understanding how landscape change influences the distribution and densities of species, and the consequences of these changes, is a central question in modern ecology. The distribution of white‐tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is expanding across North America, and in some areas, this pattern has led to an increase in predators and consequently higher predation rates on woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou)—an alternate prey species that is declining across western Canada. Understanding the factors influencing deer distribution has therefore become important for effective conservation of caribou in Canada. Changing climate and anthropogenic landscape alteration are hypothesized to facilitate white‐tailed deer expansion. Yet, climate and habitat alteration are spatiotemporally correlated, making these factors difficult to isolate. Our study evaluates the relative effects of snow conditions and human‐modified habitat (habitat alteration) across space on white‐tailed deer presence and relative density. We modeled deer response to snow depth and anthropogenic habitat alteration across a large latitudinal gradient (49° to 60°) in Alberta, Canada, using motion‐sensitive camera data collected in winter and spring from 2015 to 2019. Deer distribution in winter and spring were best explained by models including both snow depth and habitat alteration. Sites with shallower snow had higher deer presence regardless of latitude. Increased habitat alteration increased deer presence in the northern portion of the study area only. Winter deer density was best explained by snow depth only, whereas spring density was best explained by both habitat alteration and the previous winter's snow depth. Our results suggest that limiting future habitat alteration or restoring habitat can alter deer distribution, thereby potentially slowing or reversing expansion, but that climate plays a significant role beyond what managers can influence. © 2020 The Wildlife Society. In Alberta, Canada, sites monitored using motion‐sensitive cameras between 2015 and 2019 were more likely to have deer present with shallower snow and increased habitat alteration. At sites where deer were present, density was higher in areas with lower snow in winter but with greater habitat alteration in spring. Our results suggest that restoring habitat and limiting future habitat alteration can partially control deer distribution but that climate plays a significant role beyond what managers can influence.
... Moose have extended their geographic distribution northward by 200-700 km since 1875 (Hatter, 1950), and most recently, white-tailed deer have extended into the boreal forests of Alberta and the Northwest Territories (Veitch, 2001;Webb, 1967). Comprehensible and detailed data on moose and white-tailed deer foraging ecology throughout most of the boreal successional pathway are sparse, yet highly important to assess the feasibility of managing alternative prey population and expansion as a management tool. ...
Article
Wildfires are a key driver of boreal forest structure and community composition that alter food resources affecting the behaviour and ecology of wildlife. In the first 50 years post-wildfire, woody browse availability in upland forests increase in quantity and quality for generalist ungulates, such as moose (Alces alces) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Greater favorable habitat for these generalist ungulates results in increases to their respective populations, and through apparent competition, leads to increases in wolf populations; thus, causing unsustainable levels of predation on threatened woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) populations. However, the duration of post-wildfire browse availability is not well understood in the Boreal Plains of Alberta as previous studies are primarily from the Taiga and Boreal Shield where vegetation communities are structurally different. This study examines the changes in winter browse richness, evenness, abundance, and community composition, as well as their use (browse levels) by moose and white-tailed deer, over a 150-year post-wildfire period. In the summer of 2019, we collected vegetation and ungulate browsing data from 164 upland and lowland forest sites in northeastern Alberta, Canada. We used analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) and ordinal logistic regression to examine changes in browse measures. Species richness and evenness showed a double peak at 10–25 years and 90 years post-wildfire in mixedwood forests, as a result of fluctuations in browse palatability, while browse abundance was constant. In contrast, black spruce and lowland forests had similar species richness, evenness and abundance over the 150-year chronosequence. However, browse abundance in lowland forests was higher than mixedwood forests, but this consisted of low palatable browse. Browsing was significant in jack pine forests, mixedwood forests and poor fens; coniferous saplings were generally avoided, whereas 35–65% of available deciduous saplings were browsed. Understanding post-wildfire succession and ungulate browsing in post-wildfire forests provides useful information for managing alternative prey populations necessary for long-term woodland caribou conservation.
Chapter
Fruit bats, like other mammals and birds, use a combination of physiological and behavioral mechanisms to regulate their body temperature. This thermoregulatory capacity decouples their core body temperature from air temperature. Thus, despite exposure of the body surface to very cold or very hot air temperatures, appropriate physiological and behavioral thermoregulatory responses ensure that core body temperature never varies by more than a few degrees centigrade between birth and death. Even birds and mammals that express torpor do not abandon thermoregulation, but rather lower their thermoregulatory setpoint. For all endotherms, the abandonment of thermoregulation is fatal. The capacity for mammals to thermoregulate might be expected to enable a degree of thermal independence that reduces their vulnerability to environmental conditions and their sensitivity to climate change. The defining feature of endotherms is their use of metabolic heat to regulate their body core at a constant set-point temperature that is independent of air temperature. Under hot conditions, where the body gains heat from the environment, endotherms must begin actively dissipating heat through panting, perspiration, saliva spreading, and in the case of bats, wing fanning. The metabolic rate of endotherms is minimized when they are at rest, in their thermoneutral zone, and not digesting food; metabolism measured under these circumstances is referred to as basal metabolic rate. Climate exerts additional, indirect effects on mammals through its effect on their resources, competitors and predators. Temperature has a fundamental effect on all biological processes, and thus climate variation should profoundly affect all organisms sharing the same environment.
Article
Traditional Knowledge (TK) is increasingly valued in long-term monitoring of wildlife health, particularly in northern Canada where Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) may represent a threat to valued caribou and moose populations. This article presents comparative research results (1998–2002 and 2010) about caribou and moose health based on research with Łutsël K’é First Nation, Northwest Territories (Canada). Elders’ knowledge, harvester observations, harvest data and consumption data indicate a decline in the availability of barren ground caribou and range shifts of both caribou and moose during the study period. An anomalous sighting of a white tailed deer near the community, coupled with moderate community concerns about CWD would suggest the need for greater monitoring of wildlife health. As resources for scientific monitoring become limited, the article suggests how northern Indigenous communities can use their own knowledge (TK) to monitor changes in arctic ecosystems.
Article
Full-text available
Cougar (Puma concolor) have been reported from the Yukon as early as 1944. Despite many sightings, no indisputable, physical evidence of Cougar being present in the Yukon had been obtained. Here, we report on the first. In November 2000, a specimen was secured from near Watson Lake, in southeastern Yukon. Whether this specimen, and the numerous sighting records, are indicative of a low-density breeding population in the Yukon, or represent transients, is unknown.
Article
Full-text available
Within the past 10 to 15 years, White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) have extended their geographical range to include most of northern Alberta. In the boreal forest they are most abundant in well-drained upland habitat. We report the occurrence of unusually large numbers of deer seen in a large fen complex in the west side of the Athabasca River Caribou range in northeastern Alberta. Further, we report an observation that suggests that deer may be using arboreal lichen (old man's beard; Bryoria spp. and Usnea spp.) as a winter food in this region. We discuss the potential ecological ramifications of this observation for Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in northeastern Alberta.
Article
Both Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) have colonized the southern half of the Yukon in recent decades. Mule Deer have attained a continuous distribution in suitable habitats, White-tailed Deer have remained rare. Deer habitats are largely open, south-facing grassy slopes bordered by aspen, sites of recent forest fires, and cultivated hay fields. Many sightings have been reported by the general public. These have been supplemented by interviews of native elders and other long-time residents and a literature search. Mule Deer first appeared in the Yukon in the late 1930s to early 1940s and by the 1980s had reached the latitude of Dawson (64° N) and crossed into Alaska in the Ladue River drainage. A northern record for Mule Deer was established with a sighting near Chapman Lake along the Dempster Highway (64° 50′ N, 138° 25″ W). White-tailed Deer are more recent, first observed near the British Columbia border (60° 10′ N) at Tagish Lake in 1975 and reaching Moose Creek along the Klondike Highway (63° 30′ N) in 1998.
Article
The winter tick (Dermacentor albipictus) is not known to occur in Alaska. Survival and development of free-living (i.e., non-host-associated) stages of the tick were studied at three sites in central and southern Alaska. Female ticks survived, oviposited, and eggs hatched at all sites. Hatch success was low at one site where summer temperatures were low. Results suggest that establishment of winter ticks in Alaska following accidental translocation is possible, but several factors would affect such establishment.
Article
Five hundred two trappers representing 389 registered traplines in northern Alberta, northern British Columbia, Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory (Canada) responded to a questionnaire on the occurrence of hair loss and the winter tick (Dermacentor albipictus) on moose (Alces alces). Results suggested that winter ticks may occur as far as 62 degrees N. Several sightings of moose with presumed tick-induced hair loss near Kluane Lake, Yukon Territory, suggest the possibility of introduction of this serious pest into the moose population in Alaska.