Range Relationships of Feral Horses with Wild Ungulates and Cattle in Western Alberta
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CitationSalter, R. E., & Hudson, R. J. (1980). Range relationships of feral horses with wild ungulates and cattle in western Alberta. Journal of Range Management, 33(4), 266-271.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractSpatial and foraging relationships between feral horses and coexisting ungulates were studied in the foothills of western Alberta. Distribution patterns of horses were compared to those of cattle, elk (Cervus elaphus), deer (Odocoileus hemionus and O. virginianus), and moose (Alces alces) using indices of spatial and habitat use overlap. Horses were more ubiquitous in their distribution than any other ungulate and utilized sites also used by other species. Lack of behavioural interactions and dietary differences suggested ecological separation of horses from deer and moose. Although horses and elk both used dry grasslands during winter and spring, competition for forage was minimal due to the low number of elk present. During spring horses occupied some areas later preferred by cattle but range use was not excessive prior to the turn-out of cattle. There was little contemporaneous spatial overlap of horses and cattle even though their summer diets showed 66% overlap. Potential for competition appeared highest between horses and cattle but grazing relationships were complex.