Wolf: The animated feature

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 Post subject: Culling wolves may *possibly* make hunts more successful
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:33 pm 
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I found an interesting tidbit about how cooperative hunting in lions may actually be a myth:

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/myhrvold_lions07/myhrvold_lions07_index.html

Digging a bit deeper, this is what Craig Packer has to say:

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He and three other researchers found that when predators hunt in packs, it actually reduces the impact they have on prey populations.

Many people have misconceptions about how lions hunt, Packer said. One lion usually brings down the prey and then has to share the meal with the rest of the pride.

Packer found that if predators hunted individually and spread out over a territory, they would kill more prey and be more efficient hunters.

This information could be applied to wolf packs in the United States, said John Fryxell, an integrative biology professor from Guelph University who was a co-author of the paper.

Fryxell said if game managers want to ensure populations of animals like elk and deer, they might have to rethink some of their strategies.

Culling a few wolves from a pack would only make the pack more successful because they wouldn't have to share as much food, Fryxell said. Wolves hunting individually could overrun a prey population.

"We need to be more careful about not disrupting social units," he said.


While I agree that this is indeed the case with lions, I'm not too sure about wolves. I haven't found any actual studies that question their cooperative hunting, and plenty of other canines hunt in packs (dholes, African wild dogs, bush dogs, etc.), where as lions are held up as an exception among felines. Still, food for thought on a heatedly debated topic.

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 Post subject: Re: Culling wolves may *possibly* make hunts more successful
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:02 pm 
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Wow, that is interesting. I agree with you, that I'm iffy on agreeing with their statemnt on wolves. But then, coyotes are loners, unlike the wolf, so maybe there are some *exceptions* to the generl "rule." It could be possible with a small band of wolves, I suppose (maybe not a pack neccessarily... I don't know if males will hang out, like elephants do, until they are accepted into a pack).

Didn't kno wthat about lions - though I don't really know much about them at all, anyway :)

Thanks for showing this! :D

~Koey

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 Post subject: Re: Culling wolves may *possibly* make hunts more successful
PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:27 am 
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doesnt the way they hunt, either individually or as a pack/pride/whatever depend on their prey? I mean, a wolf could hunt a rabbit or something easily on its own but a big old elk seems like a different matter :S less safe to go it alone, surely?


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 Post subject: Re: Culling wolves may *possibly* make hunts more successful
PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:22 pm 
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According to Craig Packer (who sent a very fast response to an email), wolves show little cooperative hunting behavior with the exception of bison hunting (he didn't mention elk, but I would think elk would apply too...not sure). I'm waiting to hear back from a recommended source who may be able to provide me with scientific articles to expand upon this. :) The only reliable information I could find by myself on wolves stated that mated pairs can cooperate well, but that packs typically do not.

I've been watching vids of lions hunting. Indeed, one or two lionesses are making the actual kill, with others simply crowding around/latching onto non-lethal bite areas in order to get dibs on meat. With lions, there are documents of failed hunts due to a lack of cooperation during hunts, so they do not seem to be as coordinated as previously though. You have to look for them, but the actual statistics do show that lions gain more meat per kill when hunting alone, as far as typical prey goes (one vid even shows a single lion taking down a whole giraffe, so size doesn't seem to be too much of an issue, until it comes to adult elephants). Most websites and documentary voice-overs talk highly of their cooperative hunting skills and state that they get more meat per lion hunting together, but the scientific literature and lion experts seem to agree that this just isn't true. For further reading:
link Says that group hunts are more successful, and that cooperative hunting takes place

link Talks about the disagreements and opinions on cooperative hunting

http://www.lionresearch.org/current/cooperation.html Says that cooperative hunting may take place, but only when the main huntress or pair needs help. It was found that groups of females feed no better than single lions.


For added interest, giraffe take down: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2FPG2wXhXY (three lionesses, with one running towards, but one taking down the actual animal)

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 Post subject: Re: Culling wolves may *possibly* make hunts more successful
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:52 pm 
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I'll hav eto check those links later - but I read your post. Of everything I have heard about wolves, this is really new - gives us something to chew on ;D

~Koey

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