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Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) Occurrences in the Dakotas

Cover Photo of 2 Wolves

by

Daniel S. Licht*
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1500 Capitol Ave.
Bismarck, North Dakota 58501

Steven H. Fritts
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
100 N. Park, Suite 320
Helena, Montana 59601


Abstract

Gray wolves (Canis lupus) were extirpated in North and South Dakota in the 1920-30s and rarely reported from the mid-1940s to late 1970s. From 1981 to 1992, 10 wolves were killed in the Dakotas, five of them in 1991-92. Mortality sites were 46-561 km from the nearest known wolf population, and four were within a single 1175 km2 area. Eight of the 10 animals were 2 years old, suggesting dispersing individuals. Mortality occurred in agrarian prairie areas with mean road densities of 0.71 km/km2 and human densities of 3.5/km2. Habitat at mortality sites was radically different from where these wolves apparently originated, demonstrating extreme flexibility in dispersal behavior of wolves. Further increase in wolf occurrences in the Dakotas is likely, related to wolf population increases and range expansion in adjacent states and provinces, especially Minnesota.


This resource is based on the following source:
Licht, Daniel S. and Steven H. Fritts.  Gray wolf (Canis lupus) occurrences
     in the Dakotas.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 
This resource should be cited as:
Licht, Daniel S. and Steven H. Fritts.  Gray wolf (Canis lupus) occurrences
     in the Dakotas.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Jamestown, ND: Northern 
     Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online. 
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/mammals/wolves/index.htm 
     (Version 17JUN98) 

Contents


* Current address:  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1 Federal Dr., Ft.
Snelling, MN 55111-4056

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