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A Ten-Year History of the Demography and
Productivity of an Arctic Wolf Pack

By L. David Mech1

Abstract: A pack of two to eight adult wolves (Canis lupus arctos) and their pups was observed during ten summers (1986-95) on Ellesmere Island, Northwest Territories, Canada. The author habituated the wolf pack to his presence in the first summer and reinforced the habituation each summer thereafter. The first alpha female produced four to six pups each year between 1986 and 1989. However, her daughter, who succeeded her as the alpha female, produced only one to three pups between 1990 and 1992 and in 1994, and apparently did not whelp in 1993 or 1995. The tenure of the first alpha male was at least 2 years, and his successor was alpha male for the remaining 8 years of the study. The wolf pack was characterized by highly variable annual productivity. The second alpha male-and-female breeding pair likely was an older brother and a younger sister. Early survival of wolf pups was high and constant, with all pups surviving through August of the first year. The pack's demography was consistent with what is known for wolf packs in other regions of North America, but its productivity was more typical of arctic packs.

Key words: wolf, Canis lupus, productivity, demography, breeding tenure, survival


This resource is based on the following source (Northern Prairie Publication LDM0148):
Mech, L. David.  1995.  A ten-year history of the demography and 
     productivity of an arctic wolf pack.  Arctic 48(4):329-332.

This resource should be cited as:

Mech, L. David.  1995.  A ten-year history of the demography and 
     productivity of an arctic wolf pack.  Arctic 48(4):329-332.  
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/mammals/demogrph/index.htm  
     (Version 18SEP2000).

Table of Contents


1 U. S. National Biological Service, Patuxent Environmental Science Center, Laurel, MD 20708, U.S.A.
Mailing address: North Central Forest Experiment Station, 1992 Folwell Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108, U.S.A.
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