Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) Movements and Behavior Around a Kill Site and Implications for GPS Collar Studies

L. David Mech

Abstract


Global Positioning System (GPS) radio-collars are increasingly used to estimate Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) kill rates. In interpreting results from this technology, researchers make various assumptions about wolf behavior around kills, yet no detailed description of this behavior has been published. This article describes the behavior of six wolves in an area of constant daylight during 30 hours, from when the pack killed a Muskox (Ovibos moschatus) calf and yearling on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, to when they abandoned the kill remains. Although this is only a single incident, it demonstrates one possible scenario of pack behavior around a kill. Combined with the literature, this observation supports placing a radio-collar on the breeding male to maximize finding kills via GPS collars and qualifying results depending on whatever other information is available about the collared wolf’s pack.

Keywords


Behavior; Gray Wolf; Canis lupus; Muskox; Ovibos moschatus; global positioning system collar; GPS radio-collar; predation; Ellesmere Island; Nunavut

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