According to a new study, from the ten-year-old female moose develop strategies to hide from the hunters, moving and moving to land more inaccessible. In addition, scientists have discovered that are able to differentiate between a bow and a rifle, adapting its shape to protect the various hunting seasons.
The moose is the largest member of the deer family, for this reason it is one of the animals most appreciated by people who practice hunting big game in Canada. Researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada have shown that these mammals develop as they mature strategies to escape the shots of hunters to avoid being shot.
The work, published in the journal PLoS ONE, has allowed to discover that when female moose are about 10 years old, they are practically invulnerable to the threats of the hunters.
The research team, led by ecologist Henrik Thurfjell, assessed two hypotheses to explain this fact: on one, the hunters were the ones who decided to kill a greater number of moose young and, on the other, these animals were learning in her maturity to escape from their greatest enemy.
To find out that assumption was correct, the experts placed a radio-collar to 49 elk female –with an age range of between 1 and 18 years at the moment of capture– to track your movements during a period of two to four years. They chose females because they are more gregarious and live over 20 years.
The data examined included the distance travelled and the type of terrain that is moved by the ruminant. In addition, the scientists studied the behavior of each cervids to observe the learning process in its different life stages.
The experience allows the moose adults to protect themselves from the hunters
The results obtained show that the second hypothesis is correct: the moose biggest change with the passage of the years of their journeys to escape from the hunters. With these strategies, the researchers prove that, in addition to natural selection and of the hunt, the social learning also plays an important role in the survival of the elk.
As there are different seasons of hunting, the elk are going to improve your ability to hide, highlight experts. So, opt for strategies like moving less or settle in dense forests and steep terrain difficult of access to man.
In the work, it has also been discovered that the moose more adults are moving with greater frequency in places more rocky and with steep slopes in the season of bow hunting in the rifle. Scientists believe that this species of deer might have developed the ability to differentiate between the two forms of hunting to protect yourself.
Henrik Thurfell, Simone City, Mark S. Boyce. “Learning from the mistakes of others: How female elk (Cervus elaphus) adjust behaviour with age to avoid hunters.” PLoS ONE.(2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0178082