Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Carcass provisioning and intra-guild risk avoidance between two sympatric large carnivores

Nordli, Kristoffer; Walton, Zea; Eriksen, Ane; Rogstad, Marius; Zimmermann, Barbara; Wikenros, Camilla; Aronsson, Malin; Wabakken, Petter


Apex carnivores that rely primarily on predation play a central but complex role within scavenging ecology by potentially suppressing intra-guild competitors, but also facilitating them by providing a reliable supply of carrion. We investigated the competitive relationship between sympatric wolves (Canis lupus) and wolverines (Gulo gulo) in Norway across three seasons. We deployed remote cameras at fresh wolf kills (n = 29) and built Bayesian generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs) to explore the use of fresh wolf-killed prey by sympatric wolves and wolverines. Our results showed that wolves facilitated wolverines by providing scavenging opportunities. Biomass available from wolf kills was influenced by seasonal wolf prey preference and group size. Wolverines visited 100% of wolf kills in fall and winter, whereas only 18% in summer. We found that in winter, wolverines visited wolf kills 3.6 and 6.7 times more often than single wolves and wolf groups revisited their kills, and spent 10 and 25 times as much time at carcasses compared to single wolves and groups of wolves. Thus, wolverines played an important role in the depletion of wolf-killed prey, with potential effects on the scavenging behavior of other guild members. Understanding how globally threatened top predators may function as key species in scavenging processes is important to conservation as this may have community-wide cascading effects and support important ecosystem functions and services.


Alces alces; Canis lupus; Competition; Gulo gulo; Predation; Scavenging

Published in

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
2024, Volume: 78, number: 2, article number: 17
Publisher: SPRINGER