Proceedings of the New Zealand Ecological Society (1967) 14: 34- 39

High altitude ecology: The sensitivity of chamois and red deer to temperature fluctuations

Research Article
A. H. C. Christie  
  1. Forest Research Institute, Wellington

In summer, chamois at Cupola Basin (an alpine catchment approximately 60 miles south-west of Nelson) show a marked reaction to both relatively hot and cold weather. When in winter pelage they display few signs of stress. Red deer are less affected by temperature fluctuations in summer but winter observations are inconclusive on this point. These behavioural characteristics are believed to reflect adaptations to a climate that is different in New Zealand from that of their native Europe. This hypothesis may explain the unequal dispersal of chamois since liberation and the differences in population density through their present range.