Mammalian Biology

, Volume 77, Issue 2, pp 135–139 | Cite as

Unbiased sex-specific survival in Alpine chamois

  • Luca CorlattiEmail author
  • Karin Lebl
  • Flurin Filli
  • Thomas Ruf
Original Investigation


Many polygynous ungulates show higher mortality of males than of females, because of the intense male-male competition during the rut and the costs associated with the development of sexual-size dimorphism. In the weakly dimorphic Alpine chamois Rupicapra rupicapra the occurrence of differential sex-specific survival strategies is controversial. To date, only two studies investigated the survivorship of males and females in this species,producing conflicting results: these works, based on the use of life tables, require confirmation from researches carried out on living populations. We assessed the survival pattern of a protected Alpine chamois population in the Swiss National Park, where 116 individuals were marked and monitored over 13 years (1996–2008). We tested for sex-, age- and year-dependence of survival by means of capture-mark-resight models. Resighting probabilities were sex-dependent, and survival rates were time-dependent. Females had higher resighting probabilities (0.84) than males (0.74). All over the time periods, sex had a weak influence on survival probability (males=0.91; females=0.92) and survival rates remained surprisingly high until late age (1 year=0.90; 2–7 years=0.91; 8+ years=0.92). The growing evidence for a high adult survival and a weak differential mortality of the two sexes, together with the highly seasonal sexual-size dimorphism observed for Alpine chamois, might indicate the occurrence of a unique conservative survival strategy in both sexes and a low-risk mating strategy by males.


Rupicapra rupicapra Capture-mark-resight Polygyny Sexual dimorphism Survivorship 


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luca Corlatti
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Karin Lebl
    • 3
    • 4
  • Flurin Filli
    • 5
  • Thomas Ruf
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Wildlife Biology and Game ManagementUniversity of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Research Unit of Behavioural Ecology, Ethology and Wildlife Management, Department of Environmental Sciences ‘G. Sarfatti’University of SienaSienaItaly
  3. 3.Institute for Veterinary Public HealthUniversity of Veterinary Medicine ViennaViennaAustria
  4. 4.Research Institute of Wildlife EcologyUniversity of Veterinary Medicine ViennaViennaAustria
  5. 5.Swiss National ParkChaste Planta-WildenbergZernezSwitzerland

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