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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Patterns of Prey Selection by Wolves
in Denali National Park, Alaska


Wolves tend to prey on young and older animals and those in poor condition (Murie 1944, Mech 1966a, 1970, Pimlott et al. 1969, Mech and Frenzel 1971a, Mech and Karns 1977, Haber 1977, Peterson 1977, Fritts and Mech 1981, Peterson et al. 1984, Ballard et al. 1987). However, most studies documenting these patterns were conducted where there was 1 primary prey species. In addition, several studies involved prey that were also subject to human harvest, and many relied on aging by tooth wear, which is less precise than counting cementum annuli (Wolfe 1969, for moose). We examine patterns of selection by wolves on three species of prey from a system in which neither wolves nor prey are harvested, and the ages of prey were based on cementum annuli.
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