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Keywords:

  • habitat changes;
  • home range;
  • core area;
  • radio-tracking;
  • Capreolus capreolus

Abstract

The knowledge of the ability of a species to adapt to a human-altered environment is important for developing wildlife management plans and, in turn, for conservation of the species. Radio-tracking was used to examine the effects of partial food or cover removal (owing to agricultural changes) on the spacing patterns and habitat use of adult roe deer Capreolus capreolus in a mixed wood/agricultural Mediterranean area, during spring–summer 1996–97. For both sexes, there were no changes in home-range and core-area sizes, or in inter-fix distances, after food (field ploughing) or cover (crop harvesting) removal. After food removal, both sexes shifted their home ranges and core areas, spending more time in woodland and less time in the ploughed field. This suggests a change in feeding habits. In addition, similar responses by males and females indicate that their energetic requirements are comparable during the territorial/reproductive period. After removal of cover, males neither shifted their home ranges and core areas, nor changed their habitat use, whereas females responded with significant shifts (by c. 90%) of the core area, and a significant decrease in the proportion of daytime spent in the harvested field. Thus, crop harvesting in this period (May/June) has different effects on the two sexes, with adult females being much less tolerant than males. Differential responses to cover removal were related to the different security requirements of the two sexes around the period of parturition.