Lack of Reproduction in Muskoxen and Arctic Hares Caused by Early Winter?
Keywords:Animal reproduction, Muskoxen, Hares, Animal health, Animal food, Animal population, Winter ecology, Snow, Meteorology, Fosheim Peninsula, Nunavut, Eureka
A lack of young muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) and arctic hares (Lepus arcticus) in the Eureka area of Ellesmere Island, Northwest Territories (now Nunavut), Canada, was observed during summer 1998, in contrast to most other years since 1986. Evidence of malnourished muskoxen was also found. Early winter weather and a consequent 50% reduction of the 1997 summer replenishment period appeared to be the most likely cause, giving rise to a new hypothesis about conditions that might cause adverse demographic effects in arctic herbivores.
Key words: arctic hare, Lepus arcticus, Ellesmere Island, malnutrition, muskox, Ovibos moschatus, population, reproduction, snow, weather, winter severity