What causes the European Bison to transition from travel to rest? An investigation into how sex, habitat and microclimatic alterations influence the traveling behavior of the European Bison
Berg, N. van den
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In this thesis, we investigate what factors drive traveling behavior in the European Bison (bison bonasus). We analyzed GPS-collar data collected of a herd of (recently reintroduced) bison in the Kraansvlak, the Netherlands, in order to identify to what extent traveling behavior is impacted by increasing temperatures in the Netherlands. More specifically, we investigate whether higher temperatures (microclimatic alterations) induce the bison to cease traveling, and whether the transition from travel to rest is determined by a combination of different factors, namely sex of the individual and the type of habitat. These factors are relevant in order to find out to what extent sexual dimorphism and habitat selection too play a role in the bison's traveling behavior. A statistical analysis of the data showed that temperature and habitat type are significant predictors for the bison’s traveling behavior. The overarching aim of this study is to complement knowledge about thermoregulatory behavior exhibited by large herbivores in an age defined by global warming.