TITLE

Behavioural response of eastern wolves (Canis lycaon) to disturbance at homesites and its effects on pup survival

AUTHOR(S)
Mills, K. J.; Patterson, B. R.; Argue, A. M.
PUB. DATE
May 2008
SOURCE
Canadian Journal of Zoology;May2008, Vol. 86 Issue 5, p400
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Human disturbance at wolf dens and rendezvous sites (homesites) may have direct effects on pup survival and could result in the alteration of homesite-use characteristics. During a demographic study of eastern wolves (Canis lycaon) in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, we entered active homesites to tag pups with VHF radio transmitters. Homesite attendance and pup survival data collected in 2003-2005 were used to determine (i) the immediate response of wolves to disturbance at homesites, (ii) whether distance moved between homesites was influenced by disturbance, (iii) if pup survival was compromised by researcher disturbance, and (iv) whether reuse in subsequent years differed between disturbed and undisturbed den sites. Packs tended to relocate pups after a disturbance, though we did not detect a difference in distances travelled between natural homesite shifts and those following disturbance. Disturbed homesites were reused in following years at a similar frequency as undisturbed homesites (6 of 15 vs. 8 of 22 homesites, respectively). Although postcapture mortality risk was slightly elevated for pups, we could not detect long-term effects of disturbance. This resilience to disturbance, and our documentation of effective techniques for radio-tagging young pups, demonstrate that research on wolf pup demography can be performed effectively without causing unacceptable negative impacts on wolf behaviour or mortality.
ACCESSION #
31831166

 

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