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Research article2009Peer reviewed

Encounter frequencies between GPS-collared wolves (Canis lupus) and moose (Alces alces) in a Scandinavian wolf territory

Eriksen A, Wabakken P, Zimmermann B, Andreassen HP, Arnemo JM, Gundersen H, Milner JM, Liberg O, Linnell J, Pedersen HC, Sand H, Solberg EJ, Storaas T


Over 6,000 GPS fixes from two wolves (Canis lupus) and 30,000 GPS fixes from five moose (Alces alces) in a wolf territory in southern Scandinavia were used to assess the static and dynamic interactions between predator and prey individuals. Our results showed that wolves were closer to some of the moose when inside their home ranges than expected if they had moved independently of each other, and we also found a higher number of close encounters (<500 m) than expected. This suggests that the wolves were actively seeking the individual moose within their territory. Furthermore, the wolves showed a preference for moving on gravel forest roads, which may be used as convenient travel routes when patrolling the territory and seeking areas where the moose are. However, due to the particularly large size of the wolf territory combined with relatively high moose densities, the wolves generally spent a very small proportion of their time inside the home range of each individual moose, and the frequency of encounters between the wolves and any particular moose was very low. We suggest that the high moose:wolf ratio in this large Scandinavian wolf territory compared to that typically occurring in North America, results in a relatively low encounter frequency and a low predation risk for individual moose, as the predation pressure is spread over a high number of prey individuals


Alces alces; Canis lupus; GPS collar; Moose:wolf ratio; Predation risk

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Ecological Research
2009, Volume: 24, number: 3, pages: 547-557

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