Limits to Plasticity in Gray Wolf, Canis lupus, Pack Structure: Conservation Implications for Recovering Populations
Keywords:Gray Wolf, Canis lupus, disease, edge effects, behavior, mortality, radio telemetry, recovering populations, social structure, Minnesota, Wisconsin
AbstractWe documented the dynamics of the Five Corners Pack (FCP) in east-central Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin through the loss and replacement of four alpha-females over a four-year period. This pack remained intact and produced offspring during the period despite the annual loss of the alpha female. However, we observed a disintegration of the pack after four consecutive alpha females died, at least two of which were due to illegal killing by humans. Our observations generally support the hypothesis that “single-parent” wolf packs may be more prevalent in areas with low densities of wolves and high densities of ungulate prey. Our observations also highlight the need to assess the potential negative impacts of wolf removal on pack structure and persistence at local and regional scales.
Copyright for Canadian Field-Naturalist content is held by the Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club, except for content published by employees of federal government departments, in which case the copyright is held by the Crown. In-copyright content available at the Biodiversity Heritage Library is available for re-use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) licence. For usage of content at the BHL for purposes other than those allowed under this licence, contact us.
To request use of copyright material, please contact our editor, Dr. Dwayne Lepitzki: editor -at- canadianfieldnaturalist -dot- ca