Linnell, J. D. C., Aanes, R. & Andersen, R. 1995: Who killed Bambi? The role of predation in the neonatal mortality of temperate ungulates. - Wildl. Biol. 1: 209-223.
A total of 111 papers and reports, coming from 79 major studies and 19 other studies, on neonatal (first summer) mortality of 10 species of northern, temperate ungulates were reviewed. To avoid biases from indirect techniques only studies on radio-collared neonates and/or their dams were included, apart from a few notable exceptions. Neonatal mortality rates observed for different studies averaged 47% (68 studies) in environments where predators occurred, with predation accounting for an average of 67% (53 studies) of this mortality. No other single cause of mortality exceeded that of predation, which accounted for 0-100% of the mortality recorded in various studies. In contrast, mortality averaged 19% for studies in environments lacking predators. Other prominent causes of mortality were hypothermia/starvation and accidents. Disease was found to play a small role only. The predator species involved varied greatly between study areas, with both medium sized (bobcat Lynx rufus, Canada lynx Lynx canadensis, coyote Canis latrans and red fox Vulpes vulpes) and large (wolf Canis lupus, mountain lion Felis concolor, black bear Ursus americana and brown bear Ursus arctos) terrestrial predators preying upon the neonates. Despite the prominent role of predation, little is known about its long-term compensatory or additive nature, and therefore its impact on population dynamics is unclear. Factors influencing predation rates are poorly understood, although a few studies found significant sex-biased predation, and effects of weather or juvenile/maternal body condition. Timing of mortality within the first summer varied with the predators involved and the neonatal security strategy of the species, but was not confined to the immediate post-partum period.
Key words: ungulate, neonatal mortality, mother-young relationships, predation, population dynamics
John D. C. Linnell* & Reidar Andersen, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Tungasletta 2, N-7005 Trondheim, Norway
Ronny Aanes, Zoology Department, University of Trondheim AVH, N-7055 Dragvoll, Trondheim, Norway
*Present address: Hedmark District College, Evenstad, N-2480 Koppang, Norway
Received 13 October 1995, accepted 21 December 1995
Associate Editor: Lennart Hansson