Moose (Alces alces) flight response when disturbed by off-track skiing
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Wildlife face high potential to be disturbed by humans due to habitat loss and increasing popularity of recreational activities. Animals respond to the human disturbance as the risk of getting predated was real. The responses vary among individuals and are dependent on different factors. In this study, I investigated moose (Alces alces) behavioural responses for human activity. 12 free-ranging female moose were disturbed by off-track skiing in Sweden. I examined whether environmental factors, presence of calves and time of day affect to moose flush response and whether moose showed signs of habituation. Moose flight initiation distance varied among individuals, but none of the predictors explained the variation in the response. Moose flush response was more intense during midday, when the snow was old and moose sank through it. Moose was more responsive when accompanied by a calf. Moose made more turns when the disturbance last longer. I could not find signs of habituation. Moose might be more responsive to the human disturbance when they are accompanied by a calf. Moose flight response was more intensive in the midday and when the approacher sank through the snow. Human disturbance may have negative consequences during winter when there is less food available. Antipredator behaviour is always costly, but it can have more severe impact for the mothers, since they have to ensure the survival of their offspring.