Reproduction and Mortality of the High Arctic Wolf, Canis lupus arctos, in Northeast Greenland, 1978-1998


  • Ulf Marquard-Petersen Greenland Wolf Research Project, 5836 E. 10th Circle, Anchorage, Alaska 99504



Arctic Wolf, Canis lupus arctos, litter size, pup production, mortality, northeast Greenland


Reproduction and mortality of the High Arctic Wolf (Canis lupus arctos) in northeast Greenland were investigated through a temporal and spatial analysis of data on litter sizes from direct counts of pups during 21 years (1978-1998). A minimum of 22 pups were produced in a total of six areas. Overall mean litter size was 2.0 pups/litter. This was the lowest mean litter size recorded for Wolves in North America through observations of pups in summer and was probably related to low availability and vulnerability of ungulate prey. Pack size and litter size were very strongly positively correlated. Large packs (4-7 adults) produced significantly more pups than smaller packs. Mean maximum litter size from 17 North American studies employing similar methods, suggested that maximum productivity of wolves in Greenland was 58% below that of wolves elsewhere. The number of Wolf pups born in North America was negatively correlated with increasing latitude. Eight mortalities were identified and were predominantly caused by humans despite the fact that this Wolf population inhabits a national park with year-round protection.