Recent surveys of Dall sheep (Ovis dalli dalli) in the Richardson Mountains (NT/YK border) have indicated a population decline and low recruitment rates. The fluctuations of this population may be shaped by a combination of factors, but the impact of predation has received limited attention so far. Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) and wolves (Canis lupus) are common in the Richardson Mountains, however their demographic parameters, habitat use, nutritional ecology, and impact on this sheep population remain poorly known. To understand the spatial and predator-prey interactions between these three species, my objectives are to (1) evaluate the impact of predation on Dall sheep and assess the viability of this population; (2) describe prey selection and nutritional ecology of grizzly bears and wolves; (3) characterize spatial interactions and resource selection of Dall sheep, grizzly bears and wolves; (4) analyze Dall sheep behaviour and predator avoidance strategies; and (5) document aboriginal Traditional Knowledge to complement our knowledge of Dall sheep, grizzly bear and wolf interactions. Methods to accomplish this multidisciplinary project include GPS tracking; fatty acid signatures and stable isotopes analyses; field observations of sheep behavior and kill sites investigations; habitat, snow, and climate monitoring; interviews with Gwich’in elders and active land users; and integrated research with collaborative agencies. This project was started in 2006 and is expected to last until 2009.

Predator-prey interactions, spatial dynamics, resource selection, behaviour, predator avoidance strategies, viability, traditional knowledge, thinhorn sheep, Ovis dalli, Canis lupus, Ursus arctos, Northwest Territories, Gwich’in Settlement Area.