|dc.description.abstract||Creation or maintenance of moose habitat through logging requires an understanding of
how particular timber-harvest practices affect nutritional interactions of adult females and their
subsequent production of young. I compared ultrasonographic fat measurements of free-ranging
adult female moose in northwestern Ontario, Canada, 1998-2001, inhabiting two forest
management regimes; a modified clear-cut, following the Timber Management Guidelines for
the Provision o f Moose Habitat, and an unmodified, progressive, and contiguous clear-cut. I also
determined pregnancy and in utero twinning by radioimmunoassay of pregnancy-specific protein
B (PSPB) and compared the number of expected calves born to the number of calves surviving to
winter. As an adjunct to evaluation of reproductive performance, I also examined blood
parameters, hair mineral content, and stress hormone metabolite concentration in feces.
For these comparisons to be made, however, reference ranges for blood and hair
parameters needed to be established and the effects of handling, individual, temporal, and spatial
factors on blood parameter variability measured. Likewise, the radioimmunoassay used to
quantify stress hormone metabolites in feces had not been previously used in moose and the
affinity of the antibody to the fecal glucocorticoid (GC) metabolites of moose was unknown.
In Chapter 1, Validation o f a generalized fecal glucocorticoid assay fo r use in moose, I
investigated whether a commercially available multi-species assay (ICN Biomedicals) accurately
reflected acute adrenal activation in moose. Recent development of assays for GC metabolites
has provided a non-invasive means to assess a variety of human-induced disturbances and
environmental conditions on free-ranging animals. Fecal samples are easy to collect year-round
and provide an integrated reflection of all GC secretion over a period of time prior to sample
collection; however, species-specific differences in steroid metabolism necessitate validation of the assay used to quantify GC concentration. I pharmacologically challenged 2 captive-raised
moose (1 male and 1 female) with adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH). A change in fecal GC
metabolite levels was detected at 15 and 22 hours after the administration of the ACTH and
levels remained elevated for 12 and 50 hours, respectively. Accuracy and parallelism tests
demonstrated there was negligible interference from other substances in the feces and that the
antibody binds with serially diluted fecal GC metabolite extracts in a dose-dependent manner. I
concluded the ICN Biomedicals’ antibody could be used to detect a stress response in moose.
Further study will be required to define seasonal patterns in adrenal activity, measure response to
different types of stress, and evaluate the consequences of chronically elevated stress hormones.
In Chapter 2, Comparative health status, nutritional condition, and productivity of female
moose in northwestern Ontario under two forest management regimes, the age structure
(assessed by tooth wear), body size, and manner in which animals were handled were shown to
be similar between landscape treatments. Reference ranges generated for blood chemistry,
hematology, and hair mineral content are presented. After controlling for the effects of handling
and sampling year, body fat and/or landscape treatment explained little of the variance in these
In 1999-2000,1 collected feces and evaluated stress hormone metabolite concentrations.
Values were similar between landscape treatments and comparable to values observed in wild
Alaskan moose during mid-winter. Because fecal metabolites represent stress hormone secretion
over the previous 1-2 days, the values obtained are unaffected by capture stress making this
technique suitable for monitoring adrenal activity in free-ranging moose.
February body fat stores in adult females averaged 8.54% and exhibited little annual
variation. Successfully raising a calf to winter modestly affected lipid reserves (8 vs. 9%) and apparently did not affect subsequent reproductive effort. Nutritional condition and intrauterine
fecundity were similar between landscape treatments. Estimates exceeding 165 calves in
utero/100 cows were indicative of populations below K carrying capacity. Calf survival to
winter (Jan - Feb) was greater in the clear-cut landscape modified by the Timber Management
Guidelines fo r the Provision of Moose Habitat than the progressive, contiguous clear-cut (67.3
calves/100 cows vs. 44.2 calves/100 cows) however, which suggested environmental factors
affecting calf survival were different between the 2 landscape treatments.||