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Experimental release of hand-reared wolf pups in Tver region (Russia): food habits, movement patterns and fear of humans.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Zoology .
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 60 credits / 90 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Studying the reintroduction of hand-raised wolves may embrace several interests such as deepening knowledge on wolf biology and allowing a controlled release in isolated populations in need of genetic influx. Studies on hand-raised wild animals, showing successful reintroduction, suggested that young released wolves might be able to survive in the wild without previous fastidious training. Most of their survival behaviours would be instinctive. In this study, nine young wolves were reintroduced in Tver region (Russia) and followed in order to evaluate their fear of humans, their movement patterns, thanks to GPS-Argos collars fitted to three of the animals, and assess their diet via four methods of scats analysis. We analyzed 46 wolf scats collected from August 2010 to January 2011. We determined the frequency of occurrences of items per scats and per items, and used the Relative Estimated Bulk to estimate the biomass of prey species consumed. Statistics were conducted to test for significance of method comparisons. The results showed that half of the wolves remained near the enclosure weeks to months after release, occasionally leaving the vicinity. The individual wolves behaved differently, they adopted various movement patterns and had diverse home ranges (from 15 km2 to 40 km2). Released wolves preyed more on ungulates, especially moose and on other wild mammals such as mountain hare. They also sporadically hunted domestic animals and regularly consumed vegetal matter along with smaller animals as alternative prey. Finally, all scat-analysis methods significantly assessed (p < 0.01) the relative importance of the main food types.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 35 p.
Keyword [en]
Canis lupus, diet, GPS-Argos telemetry, hand-reared wolf pups, movement patterns, reintroduction, scat-analysis
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-68743ISRN: LITH-IFM-A-EX--11/2538--SEOAI: diva2:420419
Subject / course
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2011-06-20 Created: 2011-06-01 Last updated: 2011-06-20Bibliographically approved

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