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Extinguishing a Learned Response in a Free-ranging Gray Wolf (Canis lupus)

L. David Mech


A free-ranging Gray Wolf (Canis lupus), habituated to human presence (the author) on Ellesmere Island, Canada, learned to anticipate experimental feeding by a human, became impatient, persistent, and bold and exhibited stalking behaviour toward the food source. Only after the author offered the wolf about 90 clumps of dry soil over a period of 45 minutes in three bouts, did the wolf give up this behaviour. To my knowledge, this is the first example of extinguishing a learned response in a free-ranging wolf and provides new insight into the learning behaviour of such animals.


Behaviour; Canis lupus; Ellesmere Island; extinguishing learned behaviour; Arctic; Gray Wolf; learned-response; learning

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