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Leadership in Wolf, Canis lupus, Packs

Methods


I gathered both quantitative and anecdotal data relevant to leadership from a free-ranging Wolf pack during summers 1986 through 1998 on Ellesmere Island, Northwest Territories, Canada (80° N, 86° W). There, Wolves prey on Arctic Hares (Lepus arcticus), Muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus), and Peary Caribou (Rangifer tarandus pearyi), and live far enough from exploitation and persecution by humans that they are relatively unafraid of people (Mech, 1988, 1995a). During 1986, I habituated the pack of Wolves there to my presence and reinforced the habituation each summer. The pack frequented the same area each summer and usually used the same den or nearby dens. The habituation allowed an assistant and me to remain with the Wolves daily, to recognize them individually, and to watch them regularly from as close as 1 meter (Mech 1988, 1995a, National Geographic 1988). We recorded all the behavior we observed, and the following results are based on all our observations, rather than on a sample. They do, however, apply only to the pack and period studied.
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