Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Conference abstract2007


Sand, Håkan; wabakken, petter; Zimmermann, Barbara; Pedersen, Hans C; Liberg, Olof


Abstract Detailed data on kill rates, prey selection, and foraging behavior of wolves during summer and winter were obtained by applying modern GPS-collar techniques on individual wolves in 20 different wolf territories during 2001–2007 in Scandinavia. We analyzed remains of >500 prey animals killed by wolves and found during intensive study periods. Moose were the dominating prey species both by number and biomass. Juvenile moose made up 70-90% of all moose killed depending on season and provided >70-80% of the total moose biomass available to wolves. Kill rate in terms of number of prey individuals killed per wolf pack was 56-73% higher during summer than during winter. Winter kill rates was also higher in Scandinavia compared to estimates from other wolf-moose systems. However, kill rates estimated as the kg biomass available per pack or individual wolf was similar among seasons and to estimates reported from other wolf-moose systems. Wolf predation on moose in Scandinavia differs from other wolf-moose systems mainly due to a significantly higher proportion of moose calves killed (>70%). Most of our wolf packs obtained clearly more prey biomass than their estimated minimum food requirements, thus a surplus of resources might be typical for Scandinavian wolves. We predict an annual kill rate of 100-130 moose per pack, irrespective of pack size, and assume that most mortality is additive to other sources of mortality. Wolf predation rate on the local moose population is estimated to amount to <10% (of the summer population) within most wolf territories but may exceed 25-30% in some territories (i.e. equal to the annual moose population growth) where a relatively low density of moose coincide with a high concentration of wolf territories, a relatively small size of territories (high wolf density), and a low production of moose calves

Published in