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Spatial dynamics of a migratory wolf population in winter, south-central Ontario (1990-1995)

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Abstract:

We examined the spatial distribution and movements of migratory wolves (Canis lupus lycaon) to a deer yard located adjacent to Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, during 5 winters from 1990 to 1995. Wolves from eastern and central Algonquin Provincial Park followed the annual migration of deer to yards located 13 km outside of the Park boundary. Spatial distributions were determined through mapping of telemetry locations and nearest neighbour analysis. We defined three spacing systems: consistent/high fidelity, clustered/moderate fidelity, and transitional/low fidelity. We found inconsistencies among packs in their adherence to these systems. Data indicate that areas of use changed quickly and tolerance levels among wolves in the deer yard were very high; alien wolves were recorded 163 times in close spatial and (or) temporal proximity. The social behaviour exhibited by this migratory population of wolves has never been recorded in a forested wolf-deer ecosystem. Factors that may contribute to this behavioural plasticity include food abundance, a high degree of genetic relatedness among wolf packs, and high rates of human-caused mortality.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/z99-148

Publication date: November 1, 1999

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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