Wolf, Canis lupus, Behavior in Areas of Frequent Human Activity

Ellen Heilhecker, Richard P. Thiel, Wayne Hall


We report incidental observations of Wolves (Canis lupus) tolerating human activity in central Wisconsin. Three monitored packs raised pups in close proximity to varying levels of human activity. Wolf pups were raised <350m from rearing pens of the endangered Whooping Crane (Grus americana), which saw daily human activity. One pack used cornfields as rendezvous sites within 175 m of a maintenance shed visited regularly by workers. Another pack centered their activities along a well-traveled state highway using both the verge and the road center for activity. Aerial locations of 10 yearling and adult dispersing Wolves were plotted to evalute human densities in natal territories relative to dispersal and post-dispersal territories. Township densities (mean = 9.02 humans/km2, SE = 4.015) and residential densities (mean = 5.59 housing units/km2, SE = 2.12 ) in natal pack territories were significantly greater (P <.01) for dispersal and post-dispersal township densities (mean = 43.98 humans/km2, SE =7.37) and residence densities (mean = 23.12 housing units/km2, SE =3.49). Furthermore, a pup negotiated the densely populated region of northern Illinois and dispersed from central Wisconsin to east-central Indiana, a distance of at least 690 km. As Wolves live in closer proximity to humans, living in areas of higher township and residential densities, they can be expected to be more habituated to people, increasing the probability of human/Wolf conflicts.


Wolf; Canis lupus; pups; humans; habituation; behavior; Wisconsin

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22621/cfn.v121i3.472

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