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Control of ungulate numbers in a protected area

January 1, 2001

Successful long-term control of ungulate numbers within a protected area requires continuous review and refinement of management practices. Insights gained may have application to other sites. We evaluated management objectives and actions to control populations of exotic axis deer (Axis axis) and fallow deer (Dama dama) at Point Reyes National Seashore, California. Using records of numbers of each species culled from 1968 to 1996 and demographic data, we modeled each population's potential response to management actions and to the cessation of control in 1996. These simulations indicated that control measures hold numbers of both populations below ecological carrying capacity (K) and that populations of fallow and axis deer may have reached K within 5 to 13 years of ceasing control, respectively. We also simulated each population's response to removal of actual numbers of males killed but no females and actual numbers of females killed but no males from 1968 to 1996. Removing males only resulted in both populations reaching K. Removing females only led to the extirpation of both populations. Cessation of control activities prior to removal of all females resulted in recovery of both populations. A team of personnel expended an average of 1.75 work-hours/deer to remove 1,182 exotic deer of both species from 1984 to 1994. The work effort to kill each deer increased 2-fold from 1984 to 1994. The work effort required to remove s2 deer/day reached as great as 20 hours/deer. Elimination of the axis deer population is feasible and likely a more cost-effective management alternative than continued population control. Elimination of fallow deer is potentially more difficult but may be more costeffective than continuing control actions indefinitely. We recommend similar assessments of management alternatives to those charged with controlling ungulate numbers in protected areas.


Publication Year 2001
Title Control of ungulate numbers in a protected area
Authors Peter J. Gogan, Reginald H. Barrett, William W. Shook, Thomas E. Kucera
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Wildlife Society Bulletin
Index ID 70159729
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse