European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 55, Issue 6, pp 589–595 | Cite as

Space use, habitat selection and activity patterns of female Sardinian mouflon (Ovis orientalis musimon) during the lambing season

  • Simone Ciuti
  • Anna Pipia
  • Stefano Grignolio
  • Fabio Ghiandai
  • Marco Apollonio
Original Paper


We analysed space use, habitat selection and activity patterns in female mouflons using radio tracking during lambing. During the birth period, mothers increased their home ranges to reach birth places suitably covered by Mediterranean scrubland. During lactation, mothers used Mediterranean scrubland more than non-mothers. Mothers decreased the use of meadows precisely when, according to a grass quality index, productivity of meadows was highest; this was likely due to the lack of concealment for lambs that would, thus, be vulnerable to eagle attacks. Accordingly, females are argued to adopt anti-predator tactics during lactation, trading high-quality foraging meadows for safer scrubland that provides good concealment for lambs. Despite the high temperatures recorded during the day in this period, lactating females showed greater activity levels, due to their need to meet greater energetic demands for lactation. This effort by mouflon mothers in such a poor environment as the Sardinian accounted for their lower productive success than in other European populations.


Ovis Temperature Predator avoidance Female productivity 



We thank Regione Autonoma della Sardegna, Fondazione del Banco di Sardegna and Società Sardegna Resort S.r.l for providing funds for this research and Ente Foreste della Sardegna for logistical support in the study area. The English version was reviewed and edited by A. Binelli. The authors declare that the procedures used in this work were in accordance with all relevant Italian wildlife and animal welfare legislation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simone Ciuti
    • 1
  • Anna Pipia
    • 1
  • Stefano Grignolio
    • 1
  • Fabio Ghiandai
    • 1
  • Marco Apollonio
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology and Evolutionary GeneticsUniversity of SassariSassariItaly

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