During 1995–1997, 52 male and 52 female roe deer Capreolus capreolus, captured in the Forest of Trois-Fontaines in northeastern France, were introduced into the Petit Luberon state forest in southern France; of these 49 females (21 young that were < 1 year old and 28 adults that were > 1 year old) were monitored by radio-tracking. The overall mortality rate among the females monitored was 47% within one year of release. The first month following the release (February) was critical for the success of the operation as 35% of introduced animals died within this time span. It appears that stress was a major cause of mortality at this time, but traumatic deaths caused by drowning, collision with cars, and falling off cliffs were also frequent. The survival rate increased to 0.9 in spring, summer and early fall and decreased again during late fall and early winter. The high mortality rate occurring during this period may be explained by an increased mobility resulting from disturbance from wild boar Sus scrofa hunting. After the reintroduction, the animals stayed close to the release site (50% within 2.4 km, and 75% within 4 km), though the adults established themselves at longer distances than the young. The dispersion pattern of the females was not uniform throughout the study area: they preferentially settled down northwest of the release site, which may be explained by the topography of our study area and by the absence of human structures (roads, canals) in this area.
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Vol. 11 • No. 2