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Conference abstract2005

Winter Activity Patterns & Behavior in the Re-establishing Wolf Population

Sand Håkan, Zimmermann Barbara, Wabakken Petter, Pedersen Hans C, Liberg Olof


Predatory behavior of wolves (Canis lupus) was studied in 3 wolf territories in Scandinavia. Data at an hourly basis from Global Positioning System (GPS)-collared adult wolves was used in combination with Geographic Information System (GIS) for detailed analyses of movement patterns. We tested the hypothesis that wolves spend 1–2 days close to larger prey such as moose (Alces alces) and thus that 1–2 locations per day would be enough to find all larger prey killed by the wolves. All positions within clusters were searched in the field for wolf-killed prey as were 244 (22%) single positions. In total, 85 moose and 5 roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) were found and classified as wolf-killed within the study period. The GIS-analyses indicated the proportion of wolf-killed ungulates included into GPS–clusters to be strongly dependent on the number of positions per day. A higher proportion (78%) of killed prey was included in clusters based on night time (2000–0700) than daytime (0800–1900) positions (41%). Simulation of aerial search for killed moose during daytime resulted in a serious under estimation (>60%) as compared to the number of wolf-killed moose found during the study. The average kill rate of moose based on the use of traditional VHF collars underestimated kill rates by almost 50% among territories. We conclude that wolf feeding behavior in Scandinavia is either different from wolves preying on moose and living at the same latitude in North America, or that estimates of wolf kill rates on moose may have been seriously underestimated in previous North American studies

Published in


Frontiers of Wolf Recovery