Rapid population increase in an introduced muskox population, West Greenland
Keywords:Muskoxen, Greenland, introduction, populations, population dynamics
AbstractIn 1962 and 1965, 27 (13 and 14) muskox yearlings were translocated from East Greenland (71°N) to the Angujaartorfiup Nunaa range in West Greenland (67°N). Angujaartorfiup Nunaa is a 6600 km2 icefree, continental area where caribou are indigenous. The climate is strictly continental with a minimum of precipitation but with abundant vegetation. Aerial surveys in 1990 documented that the muskox population has increased to 2600 heads despite quota-based harvesting since 1988. The annual quota was 200, 300 and 400 for 1988, 1989 and 1990, respectively. Distribution of muskoxen shows a significant preference for low altitude habitats southeast of Kangerlussuaq Airport and around Arnangarnup Qoorua (Paradise valley). Annual population increment averages 30% and the calf crop is around 24% of the population. Yearling recruitment in the population reveals that calf mortality during winter is very limited. About half of the 1-year-old females are served and they eventually give birth to their first calf when they turn 2 years old. With half of the 2-year-old females reproducing, the calf/cow ration ranges between 0.9 and 1.0.
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