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Monitoring GPS-collared moose by ground versus drone approaches: efficiency and disturbance effects
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  • Martin Mayer,
  • Erlend Furuhovde,
  • Kristoffer Nordli,
  • Giorgia Ausilio,
  • Petter Wabakken,
  • Ane Eriksen,
  • Alina Evans,
  • Karen Mathisen,
  • Barbara Zimmermann
Martin Mayer
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences - Evenstad Campus

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Erlend Furuhovde
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences - Evenstad Campus
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Kristoffer Nordli
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences - Evenstad Campus
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Giorgia Ausilio
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences
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Petter Wabakken
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences - Evenstad Campus
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Ane Eriksen
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences - Evenstad Campus
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Alina Evans
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences
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Karen Mathisen
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences - Evenstad Campus
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Barbara Zimmermann
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences - Evenstad Campus
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Abstract

Efficient wildlife management requires precise monitoring methods, e.g., to estimate population density, reproductive success, and survival. Here, we compared the efficiency of drone and ground approaches to detect and monitor GPS-collared female moose (Alces alces) and their calves. Moreover, we quantified how drone (n = 42) and ground (n = 41) approaches affected moose behavior and space use (n = 24 individuals). The average time used for drone approaches was 17 minutes compared to 97 minutes for ground approaches, with drone detection rate being higher (95% of adult female moose and 88% of moose calves) compared to ground approaches (78% of adult females and 82% of calves). Drone detection success increased at lower drone altitudes (50-70 m). Adult female moose left the site in 35% of drone approaches (with > 40% of those moose becoming disturbed once the drone hovered < 50 m above ground) compared to 56% of ground approaches. We failed to find short-term effects (3-h after approaches) of drone approaches on moose space use, but moose moved > 4-fold greater distances and used larger areas after ground approaches. Similarly, longer-term (24-h before and after approaches) space use did not differ between drone approaches compared to days without known disturbance, but moose moved comparatively greater distances during days of ground approaches. In conclusion, we could show that drone approaches were highly efficient to detect adult moose and their calves in the boreal forest, being faster and less disturbing than ground approaches, potentially making them a useful tool to monitor and study wildlife.
01 Sep 2023Submitted to Wildlife Biology
04 Sep 2023Submission Checks Completed
04 Sep 2023Assigned to Editor
04 Sep 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
24 Sep 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
01 Nov 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Major
17 Nov 20231st Revision Received
20 Nov 2023Submission Checks Completed
20 Nov 2023Assigned to Editor
20 Nov 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending