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

  • Author / Creator
    Knamiller, Peter Thurston
  • 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.

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  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
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    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.