Habitat selection and survival of pronghorn fawns at the Carrizo Plain National Monument, California

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California Department of Fish and Wildlife





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On the Carrizo Plain National Monument (CPNM), California, little is known about survival rates and habitat characteristics of pronghorn fawns (Antilocapra americana). A marked decline in pronghorn numbers on the CPNM (from approximately 200 to <30 individuals from 1989 to 2011) prompted a study of fawn habitat use and fawn survival from 2009 to 2011. Only 45 fawns were born during this period. We attached GPS collars to 44% of these fawns (<5 days-of-age). We then used the locations of collared fawns to develop two separate binary logistic regression models to explore the best combination of micro- and macrohabitat-scale environmental variables for predicting (1) fawn habitat selection and (2) fawn survival. Model results for habitat selection showed that fawn locations were associated with increased concealment at close distances (5 m and 50 m) and decreased concealment at far distances (100 m). Fawn locations were on lower sloped terrain and closer to available drinking water and saltbush (Atriplex spp.). Model results for fawn survival showed that increased survival time was associated with higher sloped terrain, proximity to available drinking water and saltbush, and increased distance from high-use roads. Collectively, these results demonstrate that fawn habitat selection is scale-dependent and likely influenced by the combined spatio-temporal needs of both females and their young. The results of this study can be used to inform critical management actions on the CPNM.

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