What Drives Wolves: Fear or Hunger? Humans, Diet, Climate and Wolf Activity Patterns

What Drives Wolves: Fear or Hunger? Humans, Diet, Climate and Wolf Activity Patterns Activity patterns of animals depend on environmental and intrinsic factors. Studies undertaken across the current wolf (Canis lupus) range suggested a number of variables that may be correlated with activity patterns of wolves. These factors vary locally and there has been no attempt so far at defining those that ubiquitously impact wolf behaviour. I compared 11 studies (from Alaska to Israel) to assess the influence of (1) public road density, (2) human population density, (3) human‐caused mortality, (4) proportion of domestic animals in wolf diet, (5) proportion of forest, (6) latitude and (7) mean annual temperature on nocturnal wolf activity and movements. Nocturnal activity was mainly correlated to the proportion of domestic animals in the diet and the density of public roads, whereas nocturnal movements were mainly correlated to latitude. The importance of latitude indicates that sun periodicity might represent an important signal (`Zeitgeber') for circadian rhythms in wolves. Environmental constraints such as high temperatures during the day and a higher hunting success in crepuscular periods probably limit the ability of wolves to avoid humans by nocturnal behaviour. I therefore suggest that in regions where wolves hunt wild prey, they experience a trade‐off between predation risk by humans and increased hunting success during twilight hours. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ethology Wiley

What Drives Wolves: Fear or Hunger? Humans, Diet, Climate and Wolf Activity Patterns

Ethology, Volume 115 (7) – Jul 1, 2009

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© 2009 Blackwell Verlag GmbH
ISSN
0179-1613
eISSN
1439-0310
D.O.I.
10.1111/j.1439-0310.2009.01653.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Activity patterns of animals depend on environmental and intrinsic factors. Studies undertaken across the current wolf (Canis lupus) range suggested a number of variables that may be correlated with activity patterns of wolves. These factors vary locally and there has been no attempt so far at defining those that ubiquitously impact wolf behaviour. I compared 11 studies (from Alaska to Israel) to assess the influence of (1) public road density, (2) human population density, (3) human‐caused mortality, (4) proportion of domestic animals in wolf diet, (5) proportion of forest, (6) latitude and (7) mean annual temperature on nocturnal wolf activity and movements. Nocturnal activity was mainly correlated to the proportion of domestic animals in the diet and the density of public roads, whereas nocturnal movements were mainly correlated to latitude. The importance of latitude indicates that sun periodicity might represent an important signal (`Zeitgeber') for circadian rhythms in wolves. Environmental constraints such as high temperatures during the day and a higher hunting success in crepuscular periods probably limit the ability of wolves to avoid humans by nocturnal behaviour. I therefore suggest that in regions where wolves hunt wild prey, they experience a trade‐off between predation risk by humans and increased hunting success during twilight hours.

Journal

EthologyWiley

Published: Jul 1, 2009

References

  • On the behaviour of the North American moose ( Alces alces andersoni Peterson, 1950) in British Columbia
    Geist, Geist
  • Home range and activity patterns of male red deer ( Cervus elaphus L.) in the Alps
    Georgii, Georgii; Schröder, Schröder
  • Home ranges, movements, and activity of wolves ( Canis lupus ) in the Dalmatian part of Dinarids, Croatia
    Kusak, Kusak; Skrbinšek, Skrbinšek; Huber, Huber
  • The feeding habits of wolves in relation to large prey availability in northern Italy
    Meriggi, Meriggi; Brangi, Brangi; Matteucci, Matteucci; Sacchi, Sacchi

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