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Seasonal Wolf Predation in a Multi-Prey System in West-Central Alberta Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Knamiller, Peter Thurston
Supervisor and department
Merrill, Evelyn (Biological Science)
Examining committee member and department
Nielsen, Scott (Renewable Resources)
Boutin, Stanley (Biological Science)
Department of Biological Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Estimating annual wolf kill rates and composition is important for assessing the impact of wolves on their prey and managing wolf-ungulate dynamics. Most studies have focused on kill rates of wolves in winter or single-ungulate dominated systems. I used high intensity GPS tracking combined with scat analysis to explored intra- and inter-seasonal variations in kill rates and prey composition of wolves in a multi-prey ungulate population. I found wolves in summer selected for neonate prey of all species with deer comprising the greatest proportion of both adult and neonate prey. Summer kill rates (0.21 ungulates/ adult wolf/day) were among the highest (~1.5-2.5 times) reported in the literature and were 2.5 times higher than winter rates (0.08+0.02), when wolves killed a greater diversity of predominately adult prey. Summer biomass consumption rates (4.22+0.36 kg/adult equivalent wolf/day) were lower than in winter (7.93+4.08), when wolves were less food limited. Seasonal differences in kill rates would have lead to significant underestimates (~29%) of annual kill rates when based on winter information only.
License granted by peter knamiller ( on 2011-09-29T18:48:15Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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