Habitat Factors Affecting Vulnerability of Moose to Predation by Wolves in Southeastern British Columbia
Kunkel, K.; Pletscher, D., Canadian Journal of Zoology, 78 (January 2000): 150-157 (8 pp)
We compared habitat features at sites where wolves (Canis lupus) killed moose (Alces alces), sites 500 m from kills, telemetry locations of moose, and random sites, to examine the influence of logging and other landscape features on the vulnerability of moose to predation by wolves in southeastern British Columbia during the winters of 1984-1985 through 1995-1996. Moose-kill sites were located farther from the edges of seedling and pole size-class patches than telemetry locations. Road density was lower and wolf use was higher in areas where kill sites occurred than in areas where relocation or random sites occurred. Kill sites were located at lower elevations than relocation or random sites. A logistic regression model using road density, elevation, distance from trails, and distance from size-class polygon edges successfully classified 94.5% of sites as either kills or locations. Moose density was greater and hiding-cover levels were lower at kill sites than at control sites. Forest harvest practices in this study area apparently did not increase the vulnerability of moose to wolf predation.
Habitat Selection by Elk Before and After Wolf Reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Mao, J., Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2003 Annual Report
Habitat associations of radio-collared cow elk locations were compared between the periods of 1985-1990 (before wolf reintroduction) and 2000-2002 (after wolf reintroduction) to examine whether large scale changes in elk distribution and habitat selection occurred following the 1995 restoration of wolves into Yellowstone. In summer, elk now select for areas of higher elevation, steeper slopes, and more burned forest. These shifts in summertime habitat selection may be a combination of responses to predation risk by wolves and long-term vegetation succession following the 1988 fires. In winter, elk select for more open habitats now compared to pre-wolf times, a response that could aid in vigilance and group formation as anti-predator strategies.
Habitat Selection by Recolonizing Wolves in the Northwestern United States
Oakleaf, J.K.; Murray, D.L.; Bangs, E.E.; Mack, C.M.; Smith, D.W.; Fontaine, J.A.; Oakleaf, J.R.; Jimenez, M.D.; Meier, T.J.; Niemeyer, C.C., World Wolf Congress 2003
Gray wolf populations have persisted and expanded in the northern Rocky Mountains since 1986, while reintroduction efforts in Idaho and Yellowstone have further bolstered the population. However, rigorous analysis of either the availability of wolf habitat in the region, or the specific habitat requirements of local wolves, has yet to be conducted. We examined wolf-habitat relationships in the western U.S. by relating landscape/habitat features found within wolf pack home ranges to those found in adjacent non-occupied areas. Logical regression of occupied versus unoccupied areas revealed that a higher degree of forest cover, lower human population density, higher elk density, and lower sheep density were the primary factors related to wolf occupation. Further, our analysis indicated that relatively large tracks of suitable habitat remains unoccupied, suggesting that wolf populations likely will continue to increase in the region. Analysis of the habitat linkage between the 3 main wolf sub-populations indicates that populations in central Idaho and northwest Montana have higher connectivity, and thus greater potential for exchange of individuals, than does either subpopulation to the Greater Yellowstone Area subpopulation. Thus, for the northern Rocky Mountains to function as a metapopulation for wolves and other carnivores (e.g. lynx, wolverine, and grizzly bears), it will be necessary that dispersal corridors to the Yellowstone ecosystem be established and conserved.
Home Range Formation in Wolves Due to Scent Marking
Briscoe, B.K.; Lewis, M.A.; Parrish, S.E., Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, 64/2 (March 2002), 261 (24pp)
Social carnivores, such as wolves and coyotes, have distinct and well-defined home ranges. During the formation of these home ranges scent marks provide important cues regarding the use of space by familiar and foreign packs. Previous models for territorial pattern formation have required a den site as the organizational center around which the territory is formed. However, well-defined wolf home ranges have been known to form in the absence of a den site, and even in the absence of surrounding packs. To date, the quantitative models have failed to describe a mechanism for such a process. In this paper we propose a mechanism. It involves interaction between scent marking and movement behavior in response to familiar scent marks. We show that the model yields distinct home ranges by this new means, and that the spatial profile of these home ranges is different from those arising from the territorial interactions with den sites.
How Many Wolves Are Enough?: The Wolf-Human Interface and the Role of Biology, Ethics and Politics
Boitani, L. World Wolf Congress 2003
Wolves are often deeply hated or loved....The reasons for their...conflicts with human interests are well known as well as the motivations of those who want wolves to be fully protected or eradicated. The outcome of confrontation on wolf management is always dependent on...biological, ethical and socio-economic factors. All have wide ranges of variations: wolf populations are remarkably resilient under a broad range of environmental variations; ethics and policies are as diverse as human societies can be. [These] variations allow [for] a great variety of solutions for wolf management; however, these factors often interact in complex and confused patterns, and keeping them...distinct would greatly improve the speed and efficiency of finding solutions to the many facets of wolf-human interface. In this presentation I examine how these factors interact and the extent of their flexibility in some recurrent questions of wolf management such as (a) wolf management in protected areas vs. external areas, (b) wolf control to increase ungulate populations, (c) the limits to wolf recovery and distribution, (d) wolf and livestock coexistence. I compare the main differences in management strategies adopted in Eurasia and North America to show that many potential...answers are possible to the same management question.
Human-Wolf Conflict in India
Yadvendradev, J., Beyond 2000: Realities of Global Wolf Restoration (2000)
Wolves (Canis lupus pallipes) inhabit thorn forests, scrub-lands, arid and semi-arid grassland habitats in India. It is one of the common large carnivores found in the agro-pastoral regions of semi-arid India. [The] majority of the 2000-3000 strong wolf population in India survives outside of protected areas and in close proximity to people. These wolves primarily subsist on livestock....The tendency of discarding cattle and buffalo carcasses that die of disease, old age, and starvation around villages sustains high densities of carnivores like wolves, hyenas (Hyaena hyaena) and jackals (Canis aurius). Besides scavenging, the wolf also predates livestock like goats, sheep and cattle calves. Wolf predation severely affects the economy of pastoral communities (nomadic and resident) that barely manage to etch out a living from the highly overgrazed and degraded landscape....The pastoral community invests significantly in measures to protect sheep and goats from wolf predation. These measures include night vigils, maintaining guard dogs, building thorn corrals, and bringing the stock back to the village each night.
The attitude of people toward wolves was related to the food-habits of wolves in that region. In areas where the wolf's major prey were wild ungulates, people tended to view wolves with less hostility and rarely were wolves directly persecuted. Whereas, in areas where wolves subsist on livestock, peoples' attitudes were extremely hostile and most of the wolf mortality observed was human-related. This analysis suggests that some form of economic compensation for wolf damage would help improve public attitudes towards the wolf in India.
Military areas have been found to offer protection and suitable habitat for several endangered species in human-dominated landscapes. A pack of 13 wolves using an Airforce and Army base in a semi-urban area in Maharashtra are currently being studied using telemetry. Wolves use these military refuges during the day and patrol paved, streetlamp-lit roads of the township during the night. They subsist by scavenging on garbage dumps...and by predating sheep and goats from hut compounds. These wolves have come into conflict with the airforce authorities since they chew and damage the arrest barrier net for restraining fighter aircraft. We are attempting to mitigate this problem by experimenting with chemical repellant sprays to prevent wolves from chewing on the barrier net.
In the eastern part of the wolf's range there have been several reports of non-rabid wolf attacks on children. This severe form of conflict reached its peak in eastern Uttar-Pradesh in 1996 when a wolf was found to be responsible for attacks on 76 children (of which over 50 were fatal). Sporadic fatal attacks on children by wolves have been reported in 1997, 1998 and 1999 from other parts of Uttar-Pradesh. Our study suggests that in areas where there is high human density (>600/km2) of low economic status, with little wild prey, and with livestock populations that are heavily guarded, wolves could potentially attack children. Radio-telemetry data from three different regions in western India suggests that wolves come into contact with humans very often. It would be extremely easy for wolves to attack children in these areas. However, no authentic reports of wolf attacks on humans are available from these regions in spite of these areas having high wolf densities. Our data suggests that attacks on children are exceptionally rare in comparison to the opportunities for attacks available to wolves in India. Such attacks are an aberration of wolf behavior and should be viewed within their special ecological and socio-economic context.
Hybridisation Between Wolves and Dogs in Latvia as Documented Using Mitochondrial and Microsatellite DNA Markers
Andersone; Lucchini, Mammalian Biology, 67, no. 2 (2002): 79-90
Crossbreeding between wolves and dogs in the wild has been sometimes reported, but always poorly documented in scientific literature. However, documenting frequency of hybridisation and introgression is important for conservation of wild living wolf populations and for the management of free ranging dogs. Here we report the results of molecular genetic analyses of 31 wolf samples collected in Latvia from 1997 to 1999, including six pups originated from a litter found in northern Latvia in March 1999, and six wolves showing morphological traits that suggested hybrid origin. Nucleotide sequencing of the hypervariable part of the mtDNA control-region and genotyping of 16 microsatellite loci suggested that both pups and the morphologically anomalous wolves might originate from crossbreeding with dogs. Causes of wolf-dog crossbreeding, as well as possible management effort to avoid further hybridisation in the wild, are discussed.