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Details of Extensive Movements by Minnesota Wolves (Canis lupus)

Introduction


Some gray wolves (Canis lupus) travel to areas over 800 km away from their packs (Mech and Frenzel, 1971; Fritts and Mech, 1981; Fritts, 1983; Messier, 1985; Mech, 1987). Until recently it has been technologically or financially difficult to determine the detailed routes of these wolves because of the distances involved. Often, the only information available is the starting point based on where a wolf was originally captured and marked and the ending point based on a capture, road-kill or other type of recovery reported later (Berg and Kuehn, 1982; Ballard et al., 1983; Fritts, 1983; Mech et al., 1995; Wydeven et al., 1995). Recently, however, newer technology such as satellite tracking (Fancy et al., 1988; Ballard et al., 1995) and Global Positioning System (GPS) collars suitable for wolves (Merrill et al., 1998) have yielded detailed descriptions of wolf routes. These more detailed descriptions allow a better understanding of wolf travels and extraterritorial movements and suggest new questions about such movements (Mech, 1995). Using GPS, satellite and aerial VHF telemetry, we provide descriptions of four wolf travel routes.
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