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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Wolf habitat selection when sympatric or allopatric with brown bears in Scandinavia

Ordiz, Andres; Uzal, Antonio; Milleret, Cyril; Sanz-Perez, Ana; Zimmermann, Barbara; Wikenros, Camilla; Wabakken, Petter; Kindberg, Jonas; Swenson, Jon E.; Sand, Hakan;


Habitat selection of animals depends on factors such as food availability, landscape features, and intra- and interspecific interactions. Individuals can show several behavioral responses to reduce competition for habitat, yet the mechanisms that drive them are poorly understood. This is particularly true for large carnivores, whose fine-scale monitoring is logistically complex and expensive. In Scandinavia, the home-range establishment and kill rates of gray wolves (Canis lupus) are affected by the coexistence with brown bears (Ursus arctos). Here, we applied resource selection functions and a multivariate approach to compare wolf habitat selection within home ranges of wolves that were either sympatric or allopatric with bears. Wolves selected for lower altitudes in winter, particularly in the area where bears and wolves are sympatric, where altitude is generally higher than where they are allopatric. Wolves may follow the winter migration of their staple prey, moose (Alces alces), to lower altitudes. Otherwise, we did not find any effect of bear presence on wolf habitat selection, in contrast with our previous studies. Our new results indicate that the manifestation of a specific driver of habitat selection, namely interspecific competition, can vary at different spatial-temporal scales. This is important to understand the structure of ecological communities and the varying mechanisms underlying interspecific interactions.

Published in

Scientific Reports

2020, volume: 10, number: 1, article number: 9941

Authors' information

Ordiz, Andres
Nottingham Trent Univ
Uzal, Antonio
Nottingham Trent Univ
Milleret, Cyril
Norwegian Univ Life Sci
Sanz-Perez, Ana
Forest Sci and Technol Ctr Catalonia CTFC
Zimmermann, Barbara
Inland Norway Univ Appl Sci
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Wabakken, Petter
Inland Norway Univ Appl Sci
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA)
Swenson, Jon E.
Norwegian Univ Life Sci
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology

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