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... Consequently, wolf predation on livestock can lead to social conflicts between conservationists, farmers and other stakeholder groups (Bautista et al., 2019). Livestock damage is often restricted to few farms (Gazzola et al., 2008), and depends on landscape structure and availability of natural prey (Treves et al., 2004;Suryawanshi et al., 2013;Imbert et al., 2016). Additionally, the social status or family history of individual wolves can affect livestock depredation rates. ...
... Additionally, the social status or family history of individual wolves can affect livestock depredation rates. For example, in Northern Italy dispersing wolves killed more livestock compared to resident pairs and packs (Imbert et al., 2016). Sometimes single individuals or packs are responsible for disproportionately high livestock damage, which often results in public pressure for such "problem individuals" to be culled. ...
... Moreover, we cannot exclude the possibility that lack of familiarity with an area might influence the propensity of non-residents to attack livestock, as shown in other areas and species (Mizutani, 1993;Linnell et al., 1999). Independent of the proximate mechanism, increased predation on livestock in areas with reduced availability of natural prey and increased availability of livestock was also shown in other areas (Suryawanshi et al., 2013;Imbert et al., 2016). We have no clear explanation why livestock depredation rates by resident wolves were higher during winter and lower during summer, but it might relate to prey switching related to the presence of dependent offspring. ...
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Attacks by large predators on livestock are an important driver of conflicts. Consequently, knowledge about where predators occur, where livestock depredation takes place and what factors influence it will aid the mitigation of stakeholder conflicts. Following legal protection, wolves (Canis lupus) in Central Europe are recently spreading to areas dominated by agriculture, bringing them in closer contact with livestock. Here, we analyzed habitat selection and livestock depredation rates of 43 wolves identified by genotyping on the Jutland peninsula, consisting of mainland Denmark and the northernmost German federal state Schleswig-Holstein. Occupancy by resident wolves correlated positively with forest and other non-forested semi-natural land cover (habitat for natural ungulate prey), whereas occupancy by non-resident wolves correlated with increasing forest cover and sheep density. The latter effect likely reflected increased sampling probability of highly mobile dispersers killing livestock. We recorded 565 livestock depredation events (85 in Denmark and 480 in Schleswig-Holstein), of which 42% (55 in DK and 185 in SH) could be assigned to 27 individual wolves based on DNA evidence. Livestock (mostly sheep) were killed by wolves in 16% of the study area. Our results indicate that wolves mostly killed livestock as a context-dependent response, i.e., being dispersers in agricultural areas with low availability of wild ungulate prey and high livestock densities, and not because of behavioral preferences for sheep. Moreover, the livestock depredation was lower in areas with livestock protection measures (implemented in areas with established pairs/packs). We conclude that while wolf attacks on livestock in established wolf territories generally can be reduced through improvement of fences, livestock depredation by non-resident wolves in agricultural areas constitutes a bigger challenge. Albeit technically possible, the economic costs of implementing predator-proof fences and other preventive measures in such pastoral areas infrequently visited by wolves will be considerable. Experiences so far further indicate that lethal removal of identified "problem wolves" may be inefficient in practice.
... Therefore, whether a parent pack kills sheep may predict what a loner would prefer and predict whether the loner would become problematic towards sheep. This prediction differs from the common assumption that sheep are easy prey [8,[34][35][36]. Similarly, whether loners will be in proximity to a human environment may also relate to a habit of their parent packs. ...
... These two wolves could be the tip of an iceberg and representatives of a larger subpopulation of unobserved wolves: wolves that did enter the Netherlands, but did not kill farm animals and went unobserved. If so, it is remarkable that a subpopulation of loners enters and crosses the Netherlands without killing farm animals; sheep in particular, as sheep are considered easy prey [8,[34][35][36]. In this respect, there are three significant observations. ...
... Thus, the availability of sheep cannot explain why there are loners that do not kill sheep. Other researchers also showed that prey preference cannot be fully explained by availability [8,35,[101][102][103][104][105][106]. Therefore, prey preference is apparently not merely a matter of stochastic laws. ...
Article
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Transmission of experience about prey and habitat supports the survival of next generation of wolves. Thus, the parent pack (PP) can affect whether young migrating wolves (loners) kill farm animals or choose to be in human environments, which generates human–wolf conflicts. Therefore, we researched whether the behavior of loners resembles PP behavior. After being extinct, 22 loners had entered the Netherlands between 2015 and 2019. Among them, 14 could be DNA-identified and linked with their PPs in Germany. Some loners were siblings. We assessed the behavior of each individual and PP through a structured Google search. PP behavior was determined for the loner’s rearing period. Similarity between loner and PP behavior was significant (p = 0.022) and applied to 10 of 14 cases: like their PPs, three loners killed sheep and were near humans, five killed sheep and did not approach humans, while two loners were unproblematic, they did not kill sheep, nor were they near humans. Siblings behaved similarly. Thus, sheep killing and proximity to humans may develop during early-life experiences in the PP. However, by negative reinforcement that can be prevented. New methods are suggested to achieve that. As a result, new generations may not be problematic when leaving PPs.
... Their role as an ecosystem regulator through trophic cascades has been well documented Ripple & Beschta, 2004;Halofsky & Ripple, 2008). Wolves were once hunted to near extinction; however, over a period of time, increased public awareness toward the species has help garnering strong legal protection, favorable media coverage and furthered ecological research (Mech, 1995;Ripple & Beschta, 2007;Chapron, Andren & Liberg, 2008;Imbert et al., 2016). Yet, persecution remains as one of the biggest obstacles to wolf recovery around the world (Newsome et al., 2016), including the Himalayan wolf. ...
... Wolves are known to choose their prey based on wild prey abundance, vulnerability, pack stability, dispersal nature, habitat accessibility and husbandry regime in human-dominated landscapes (Imbert et al., 2016). Patterns of wolf diet across these regions show that wolves consumed mostly large and domestic prey (40% and 48.21%, respectively). ...
... As a result, large prey may have become scarce for wolves. This may have led to their increased dependence on domestic or smaller prey in the region (Liu & Jiang, 2003;Imbert et al., 2016;Suryawanshi et al., 2017). Wolves are top predators and require large landscapes. ...
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The wolves in the Hindukush-Himalayan region belong to one the most basal lineages within Canis lupus , yet little is known about its ecology, distribution, and behavior. To understand ecological aspects of wolves in this landscape, we predict wolf distribution, diet patterns and conflict perception in Spiti, India using field and remotely sensed information. We collected scats (n = 283) of canid species namely, Wolves, and other predators over a period of 3 years (2014-17). Wolf diet constituted mostly of domestic prey (79.02%) while wild prey constituted to 17.80% of wolf diet over the three years. Village surveys recorded only 4% of the respondents confirmed wolf presence and perceived them as a possible threat to various livestock. Over, 98% of the respondents claimed that wolves were not safe for livestock and were averse to its presence. Marginal response curves depicted the model to have positive responses to animal location, LULC, village population, village density and wolf depredation. We found perceived presence/threat distribution wolves in the area significantly differed from actual ecological presence and distribution of wolves. The Himalayan wolf is an apex flagship predator in this fragile high altitude system, whose role is intricately linked with the ecology of the region. The use of such methods can aid in understanding such aspects as well as designing effective long-term conservation strategies for the species.
... Their role as an ecosystem regulator through trophic cascades has been well documented Ripple & Beschta, 2004;Halofsky & Ripple, 2008). Wolves were once hunted to near extinction; however, over a period of time, increased public awareness toward the species has help garnering strong legal protection, favorable media coverage and furthered ecological research (Mech, 1995;Ripple & Beschta, 2007;Chapron, Andren & Liberg, 2008;Imbert et al., 2016). Yet, persecution remains as one of the biggest obstacles to wolf recovery around the world (Newsome et al., 2016), including the Himalayan wolf. ...
... Wolves are known to choose their prey based on wild prey abundance, vulnerability, pack stability, dispersal nature, habitat accessibility and husbandry regime in human-dominated landscapes (Imbert et al., 2016). Patterns of wolf diet across these regions show that wolves consumed mostly large and domestic prey (40% and 48.21%, respectively). ...
... As a result, large prey may have become scarce for wolves. This may have led to their increased dependence on domestic or smaller prey in the region (Liu & Jiang, 2003;Imbert et al., 2016;Suryawanshi et al., 2017). Wolves are top predators and require large landscapes. ...
Article
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The Himalayan wolf is one of the most basal among wolf lineages in the world today. It inhabits mostly the high elevations, northwards from the Himalayas (1500–5000 m) in the Asian region. We conducted a meta‐analysis to understand the dietary habits of Himalayan wolves and wolves of the high rangelands of Asia from seven countries (n = 22). We found 39 different prey items reported across the distribution of the Himalayan wolf from a total of 2331 scats (average of 105.95 ± 20.10 scats per study). Comparison of the relative frequency of occurrence of different prey species shows that domestic prey consumption (48.21 ± 5.61%) across the zones or continent was similar to wild prey consumption (42.94 ± 5.25%). Small wild prey species constituted approximately (24.53 ± 3.77%) of the total wolf diet. Wolves of the Asian Highlands consumed relatively more large prey (40.01 ± 5.42%) than small prey (25.19 ± 3.85%) or medium‐sized prey (23.17 ± 3.78%). Wolves consumed a larger proportion of domestic (54.92 ± 5.94%) than wild prey (36.13 ± 6.12%) in areas that had regular livestock grazing and vice versa. East, west and central Himalayan and Central Asian wolves consumed mostly large wild and domestic prey. On the contrary, wolves in the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau, Inner Mongolia and the Karakoram consumed a relatively higher proportion of smaller‐sized prey and livestock. Overall, wolves utilized mostly domestic livestock and marmots (Ivlev’s index, 0.22–0.77). High localized utilization of Przewalski’s horse (Equus ferus przewalkskii, 0.94) was recorded, whereas Goral (N. goral) and Pika (Ochotona spp) were particularly underutilized (−0.99 and −0.92) in wolf diet. A landscape or trans‐boundary approach is advocated to restore natural large wild prey, for such a relic lineage species and reduce human‐wolf conflicts. Himalayan wolves are an ancient and unique lineage specific to the Asian continent, and their diet consists mainly of domestic prey. We conducted a meta‐analysis to understand the dietary habits of Himalayan wolves and wolves of the high rangelands of Asia from seven countries. Wolves consumed more wild prey in areas with limited or non‐livestock grazed areas. A trans‐boundary approach is advocated to restore natural wild prey for the Himalayan wolves and reduce human‐wolf conflict across its range.
... Importantly, in social species such as wolves and dingoes, even a small reduction in the population can disrupt social stability (Fryxell et al., 2007;Wallach et al., 2010) and their impact on prey populations. Reduction of wolf pack size reduces hunting success (MacNulty et al., 2011), leading to the selection of easier-to-catch prey species, such as livestock (Imbert et al., 2016). Predator control programs can have other unexpected effects on predator behaviour. ...
... In addition, it is the young, dispersing, individuals that are most likely to move from unmanaged areas to areas where populations are controlled (Minnie et al., 2016). Such young wolves are the ones that typically appear closer to populated areas, and are more likely to attack livestock (Imbert et al., 2016). ...
... For wolves to have a significant ecosystem impact via density-or behaviourally mediated effects, an established wolf pack (i.e. a family group) in an area is the starting point (see e.g. Fryxell et al., 2007;Wallach et al., 2009Wallach et al., , 2010Imbert et al., 2016). Hence, areas that are large enough and provide sufficient prey to host a wolf pack would offer sites where these ecosystem roles are likely (Kuijper et al., 2016). ...
Article
The recolonization of wolves in European human-dominated landscapes poses a conservation challenge to protect this species and manage conflicts. The question of how humans can co-exist with large carnivores often triggers strong emotions. Here we provide an objective, science-based discussion on possible management approaches. Using existing knowledge on large carnivore management from Europe and other parts of the globe, we develop four potential wolf management scenarios; 1) population control, 2) protection and compensation, 3) fencing, 4) managing behaviour of wolf and man. For each scenario, we discuss its impact on wolf ecology, its prospects of reducing wolf-human conflicts and how it relates to current European legislation. Population control and fencing of local wolf populations are problematic because of their ecological impacts and conflicts with European legislation. In contrast, a no-interference approach does not have these problems but will likely increase human-wolf conflicts. Despite the large challenges in European, human-dominated landscapes, we argue that wolf management must focus on strengthening the separation between humans and wolves by influencing behaviour of wolves and humans on a fine spatio-temporal scale to prevent and reduce conflicts. As separation also demands a sufficiently large wild prey base, we urge restoring natural ungulate populations, to reduce human-wolf conflicts. Mutual avoidance provides the key to success, and is critical to avoid creating the conditions for reinstating wolf persecution as the default policy in Europe.
... Thus, cooperative hunting of the larger prey might increase hunting success, but also might offset the risk of injury to some degree (Mech 1970). One other very interesting aspect, especially in the light of wolves returning all over Europe is that one study, examining 1,457 scats between 2008 to 2013 in Italy, calculated a model that showed the presence of stable packs, instead of dispersing wolves, reduced predation on livestock (Imbert et al. 2016). ...
... There are also some studies indicating that wolves might prefer wildlife over livestock consumption. For example, one study showed that while the presence of domestic ungulates on high-altitude pastures during summer (May-October) influenced wolf diet (summer 19.0%, winter 0.3%) in the Italian Alps, wolves still preferred wild ungulates despite the higher density of domestic livestock (Gazzola et al. 2005;Imbert et al. 2016; see also Meriggi and Lovari 1996). Other studies have found that consumption of livestock by grey wolves decreased over time, coincident with an increase in relying on wild ungulates in southern Italy (Newsome et al. 2016). ...
Chapter
This short review summarizes aspects of the socio-ecology of wolves that might be relevant to understand dog-wolf differences in behaviour and cognition. It highlights the cooperative nature of wolves that usually live in family packs, raise their pups together, and jointly participate in hunting, as well as defending their territories and carcasses. However, the size and stability of family packs and the dynamics of their cooperative interactions, while still under investigation, are thought to be influenced by a number of socio-ecological factors such as the degree of saturated habitats, prey species availability, habitat disturbance, as well as kin selection and territory inheritance.
... Wolves are pack hunters and are known to feed on a variety of different food items. They choose their prey based on availability, abundance, pack stability, season, and habitat accessibility in the human-dominated landscapes (Imbert et al., 2016;Lyngdoh et al., 2020). Our study revealed that the diet of Woolly wolf from the Himalayan region consisted of 20 different food items from small birds, reptiles to large mammals and domestic animals such as cattle and yak. ...
... The Woolly wolf also consumed a sufficient proportion of the large-sized prey (32.32%) and medium-sized prey (33.87%) with a considerable quantity of small prey (24.18%) consumption in their diet (Figure 5). Various studies across the wolf distribution range confirm that large prey forms the major part of the wolf diet (Imbert et al., 2016;Mengulluoglu et al., 2019;Petridou et al., 2019;Sin et al., 2019). The dependency on small prey might be because of the scarcity of the large and medium-sized animals to avoid interactions with humans or to gain and fulfill energy requirements in the harsh climatic condition. ...
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Geographical isolation can often lead to speciation, and two disconnected populations of the same species living in drastically different bioclimatic regions provide an opportunity to understand the process of speciation. The Woolly wolf is found in the cold-arid, Trans- Himalayan landscape, while the Indian wolf inhabits the semi-arid grasslands of Central India. Both the lineages of wolves from India have generated scientific debate on their taxonomic status in recent years. In this study, we collected data and reviewed published literature to document the ecological and behavioral differences between the Woolly wolf and the Indian wolf. Most studies have used genetic data; hence we discuss variation in spatial ecology, habitat preferences, vocalization, diet diversity and cranial measurements of these two subspecies. The spatial ecology of two lineages was compared from the data on three Woolly and ten Indian wolves tagged with GPS collars. The telemetry data shows that there has been no difference in the day-night movement of Woolly wolves, whereas Indian wolves show significant high displacement during the night. The BBMM method indicated that Woolly wolf home ranges were three times larger than the Indian wolf. The Woolly wolf diet is comprised of 20 different types of food items, whereas the Indian wolf diet consists of 17 types. The Woolly and Indian wolf largely depend upon domestic prey base, i.e., 48.44 and 40.34%, respectively. We found no differences in the howling parameters of these subspecies. Moreover, the Woolly wolf skull was significantly longer and broader than the Indian wolf. Wolves of India are ancient and diverged from the main clade about 200,000–1,000,000 years ago. Their genetic and ecological evolution in different bioclimatic zones has resulted in considerable differences as distinct subspecies. The present study is a step in understanding ecological differences between two important, genetically unique subspecies of wolves.
... Wolves shift to wild boar in winter, when most attacks on dogs occur, after the vulnerable roe deer fawn age class diminishes (i.e., 71% in summer scats) and vulnerability of young wild boar increases, a seasonal pattern also observed in other similar studies from Europe [98,102,103]. Apart from wild boar, hunting dogs may represent an alternative, locally abundant, and highly vulnerable prey during winter, also given the positive trend in their numbers in the last 10 years, as mentioned. ...
... Although recovery of wild boar and roe deer is ongoing in the study area, trophic stability of wolf populations and the reduction of wolf-human conflicts are achieved by increasing not only density, but also the diversity of wild ungulates [3,103]. Feasibility of reintroducing additional ungulates species previously native in the study area can be considered. ...
Article
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Hunting dog depredation by wolves triggers retaliatory killing, with negative impacts on wildlife conservation. In the wider area of the Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest National Park, reports on such incidents have increased lately. To investigate this conflict, we interviewed 56 affected hunters, conducted wolf trophic analysis, analyzed trends for 2010–2020, applied MAXENT models for risk-map creation, and GLMs to explore factors related to depredation levels. Losses averaged approximately one dog per decade and hunter showing a positive trend, while livestock depredations showed a negative trend. Wolves preyed mainly on wild prey, with dogs consisting of 5.1% of the winter diet. Low altitude areas, with low to medium livestock availability favoring wolf prey and game species, were the riskiest. Dogs were more vulnerable during hare hunting and attacks more frequent during wolf post-weaning season or in wolf territories with reproduction. Hunter experience and group hunting reduced losses. Wolves avoided larger breeds or older dogs. Making noise or closely keeping dogs reduced attack severity. Protective dog vests, risk maps, and enhancing wolf natural prey availability are further measures to be considered, along with a proper verification system to confirm and effectively separate wolf attacks from wild boar attacks, which were also common.
... In contrast to other studies, we found that shrublands (Davie et al., 2014;Miller et al., 2015;Pimenta et al., 2018), coniferous (Treves et al., 2004(Treves et al., , 2011Kaartinen et al., 2009), deciduous (Treves et al., 2004;Dondina et al., 2015) and mixed forests (Treves et al., 2004;Dondina et al., 2015) had a slight, even negative, relationship with predation risk. However, this is not surprising as wolves' attacks on domestic ungulates mainly occurred in pastures, where tree coverage is often very low by definition (Abade et al., 2014;Imbert et al., 2016), mainly at the borders of pastures. Actually, our response curves showed a peak of predation risk on livestock around 10% of coniferous, deciduous and mixed forest coverage, those of cattle showed a marked decrease over 25% of coniferous forest cover, while goats and sheep showed a decrement over 30% of mixed forest cover. ...
... Other predictors not considered in our study may also have affected variation in wolf predation risk on livestock species. For example, previous studies showed that wolf predation on livestock may relate to husbandry practices (which can be difficult to quantify and so include in PRMs; Pimenta.ea.2018), wolf densities and availability of alternative wild preys (Mech, 2000;Treves et al., 2004Treves et al., , 2011Kaartinen et al., 2009;Imbert et al., 2016;Pimenta et al., 2017). Pimenta et al. (2018) suggested that local variations in wolf densities and activity patterns may have affected predation intensity, as well as variables describing wild prey abundance (unavailable in both their and our studies). ...
Article
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Globally, large carnivore livestock predations are major causes of conflicts with humans, thus identifying hotspots of carnivore attacks is fundamental to reduce the impact of these, and hence promote coexistence with humans. Species distribution models combining predictor variables with locations of predation events instead of species occurrences (also known as predation risk models) are increasingly used to predict livestock depredation by carnivores, but they are often developed pooling attacks on different livestock species. We identified the main factors related to predation risk on livestock using an extensive dataset of 4604 locations of verified wolf predation events on livestock collected in northern and central Italy during 2008–2015 and assessed the importance of pooling versus splitting predation events by prey species. We found the best predictors of predation events varied by prey species. Specifically, predation risk increased with altitude especially for cattle, with grasslands especially for cattle and sheep and with distance to human settlements, especially for goats and livestock but only slightly for cattle and sheep. However, predation risk decreased as human population density, human settlements and artificial night-time light brightness increased, especially for cattle. Finally, livestock density was positively related to predation risk when herd exceeds 500 heads for km2. Moreover, prey-specific risk models are better tools to predict wolf predation risk on domestic ungulates. We believe that our approach can be applied worldwide on different predator-prey systems and landscapes to promote human-carnivore coexistence. Actually, while pooling predation events could be primarily used by managers and personnel of wildlife agencies/offices in developing general policies, splitting predation events by prey species could be used at farm-level to better identify livestock owners at risk in high-priority areas and which prevention tools and deterrents (e.g. electric fences, guarding dogs, predator-proof enclosures) should be applied, as the most effective measures differ by species.
... Perhaps, killing a predator returning to a carcass soon after predation might protect other livestock ( Woodroffe et al., 2005), but experiments with such methods also show surprisingly high error rates ( Sacks et al., 1999). Indeed, recent, independent research in several regions found killing wild animals could exacerbate future threats to human interests, e.g., cougars (Cooley et al., 2009a;Peebles et al., 2013), birds ( Bauer et al., 2018;Beggs et al., 2019), and wolves (Santiago-Avila et al., 2018a) -without requiring us to delve into the unresolved controversy and contested evidence about wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains, USA or in Southern Europe ( Wielgus and Peebles, 2014;Bradley et al., 2015;Fernández-Gil et al., 2015;Imbert et al., 2016;Poudyal et al., 2016;Kompaniyets and Evans, 2017). The uncertainties about predator removal reflect the indirect application unlike the lion and the goat hypothetical above. ...
... Related to this, the literature is unclear whether and how the response of survivors might differ from response to other mortality causes. In some cases, newcomers might kill more domestic animals than previous residents had killed because social networks might be disrupted, as reported in cougars (Cooley et al., 2009a,b;Peebles et al., 2013); or survivors might turn to domestic animals when their conspecifics have been removed (Imbert et al., 2016;Santiago-Avila et al., 2018a), and other "spill-over" effects ( Santiago-Avila et al., 2018a). A number of correlational studies have reported such effects ( Peebles et al., 2013;Fernández-Gil et al., 2015), including four papers from one site that have all been disputed without consensus on their resolution (Wielgus and Peebles, 2014;Bradley et al., 2015;Poudyal et al., 2016;Kompaniyets and Evans, 2017). ...
Article
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Rapid, global changes, such as extinction and climate change, put a premium on evidence-based, environmental policies and interventions, including predator control efforts. Lack of solid scientific evidence precludes strong inference about responses of predators, people, and prey of both, to various types of predator control. Here we formulate two opposing hypotheses with possible underlying mechanisms and propose experiments to test four pairs of opposed predictions about responses of predators, domestic animals, and people in a coupled, dynamic system. We outline the design of a platinum-standard experiment, namely randomized, controlled experiment with cross-over design and multiple steps to blind measurement, analysis, and peer review to avoid pervasive biases. The gold-standard has been proven feasible in field experiments with predators and livestock, so we call for replicating that across the world on different methods of predator control, in addition to striving for an even higher standard that can improve reproducibility and reliability of the science of predator control.
... Reviews at the continental and global scales, however, show that wolves tend to prefer wild over domestic ungulates where both are available Newsome et al., 2016). Accordingly, the restoration of wild ungulate communities, and the protection of livestock, have been viewed as an effective strategy to support wolf recovery and conservation in many European countries, also aimed at reducing wolf-human conflicts (Imbert et al., 2016). Nevertheless, wolves and other apex predators may be attracted by livestock and other anthropogenic food subsidies not only where wild prey are scarce but also due to their greater energetic profitability compared to wild ungulates (Newsome et al., 2015). ...
... Based on this rationale, reintroductions of cervids (i.e., red and roe deer) had been conducted decades ago in the PNALM to reduce wolf dependency on livestock (Tassi, 1976;Boscagli, 1985). However, our findings, in line with previous studies elsewhere in Italy (e.g., Capitani et al., 2004;Meriggi et al., 2015;Imbert et al., 2016), indicate this is not necessarily the case, as livestock availability and accessibility to wolves, including carcass subsidies, appears to be the main determinant of wolf dependency on livestock, also if abundant and diversified wild prey communities are available (Salvador and Abad, 1987;Sidorovich et al., 2003;Gazzola et al., 2005;Migli et al., 2005). In rare situations where wolves in human-modified landscape thrive almost entirely on a wild ungulate community (e.g., Mattioli et al., 2004Mattioli et al., , 2011, local availability and accessibility of livestock appears to be markedly reduced. ...
Article
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In ecologically pristine ecosystems, top-down effects of apex predators play a fundamental role in shaping trophic cascades and structuring ecosystems, but in human-modified landscapes anthropogenic effects may markedly alter the ecological role of predators. In particular, human-provisioned food subsidies represent a serious concern for the conservation of apex predators, even though little empirical attention has been given to this aspect in assessing conservation outcomes. To assess the extent to which anthropogenic food subsidies affected feeding ecology of a protected wolf (Canis lupus) population in a human-modified landscape, we integrated scat-analysis (n = 1141 from 4 packs; Jan 2005–Mar 2009) and winter field inspections of Global Positioning System telemetry re-locations (n = 595 clusters and 96 single locations from 5 wolves in 5 packs and 3 floaters; 2008–2011) of wolves living in a historical national park of central Italy hosting both wild prey and livestock at high densities. We revealed that livestock dominated the wolf diet (mean biomass = 63.3 ± 14.2% SD), secondarily supplemented by wild prey (36.7 ± 5.3%, mostly wild boar [Sus scrofa], roe deer [Capreolus capreolus], and red deer [Cervus elaphus]). During winter, we revealed a higher propensity of wolves to scavenge (72.5%; n = 91 feeding events) rather than killing prey, and feeding behavior was affected by prey type (i.e., domestic vs wild ungulates) as the large majority of scavenged carrions (75.8%) were livestock carcasses abandoned on the ground that died for causes different from predation. Feeding behavior of wolves was not affected by social affiliation (i.e., pack members vs solitary wolves), indicating that pack members, even if aided by cooperative hunting, were equally likely than solitary wolves to scavenge rather than killing prey; yet, 27.5% of winter feeding events involved predation, exclusively targeted to wild prey. Our findings indicate that large livestock carrion subsidies may strongly depress predatory behavior in wolves, despite the occurrence of an abundant wild prey community, and have relevant ecological, evolutionary and management implications. Reliance on human-provided livestock carrion subsidies likely alters the ecological role of wolves by reducing their top-down cascading effects on the ecosystem, and this has relevant implications for the conservation of wolves and other apex predators in national parks. Accordingly, we call for more strict regulations to govern livestock management and practices and argue that, at least in national parks, conservation goals of apex predators need to explicitly consider their ecological role. Keywords: Canis lupus, GPS cluster checks, Livestock depredation, Scat analysis, Scavenging, Trophic cascades
... Wolves require rich and diverse ungulate populations as a prey-base to reduce predation on livestock and subsequent wolf-human conflicts [79]. Increased roe deer availability for wolves can significantly decrease livestock consumption, as it acts as a second potential prey species in Mediterranean landscapes, in addition to wild boar [80]. We suggest that human disturbance could indirectly increase wolf-livestock conflict, since it was found to increase wolf nocturnality and, consequently, reduce opportunities for wolves to prey on roe deer during the day, while spatially restricting roe deer availability. ...
Article
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In an era of increasing human pressure on nature, understanding the spatiotemporal patterns of wildlife relative to human disturbance can inform conservation efforts, especially for large carnivores. We examined the temporal activity and spatial patterns of wolves and eight sympatric mammals at 71 camera trap stations in Greece. Grey wolves temporally overlapped the most with wild boars (∆ = 0.84) and medium-sized mammals (∆ > 0.75), moderately with brown bears (∆ = 0.70), and least with roe deer (∆ = 0.46). All wild mammals were mainly nocturnal and exhibited low temporal overlap with human disturbance (humans, vehicles, livestock, and dogs; ∆ = 0.18-0.36), apart from roe deer, which were more diurnal (∆ = 0.80). Six out of nine species increased their nocturnality at sites of high human disturbance, particularly roe deer and wolves. The detection of wolves was negatively associated with paved roads, the detection of roe deer was negatively associated with human disturbance, and the detection of wild boars was negatively associated with dogs. The detection of bears, boars, and foxes increased closer to settlements. Our study has applied implications for wolf conservation and human-wildlife coexistence.
... In fact, the northernmost GPS location recorded during this movement occurred along a hypothetical corridor (the Ticino River Natural Park), but in an area where an abrupt decline of ecological connectivity was predicted due to human settlements and roads [41]; moreover, during the last few years, two wolves were killed by car accidents exactly in this area. After the unidirectional dispersal southward, the NSD of W2357M showed two peaks and a turnaround, suggesting it had not found an available area to settle in the Northern Apennines, probably due to high pack density characterising the area [45,86,87]. ...
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Assessing the behavioural responses of floating wolves to human presence is crucial for investigating the chance of wolf populations expanding into urbanised landscapes. We studied the movement ecology of three rehabilitated wolves in a highly human-dominated landscape (Po Plain, Italy) to explore wolf’s plasticity amid widespread human pressure. To reach this aim, we estimated individual 95% utilisation distributions (UD) after the release and inspected both 95% UDs and net squared displacements to identify individual movement patterns; tested for differences in movement patterns during day and night; and analysed the selection of resting sites during dispersal movement in a highly human-altered environment. Both the 95% UDs and step lengths were smaller for wolves settling in suitable areas than for those settling in more urbanised areas. All wolves exhibited strong temporal segregation with humans during all movement phases, particularly while dispersing across highly urbanised areas. Main roads and proximity to built-up areas were shown to limit wolves’ dispersal, whereas small-wooded patches that provide shelter during rest facilitated long-distance movements. This study provides important insights into wolf movement and settling in urban and peri-urban areas, providing critical knowledge to promote human–carnivore coexistence.
... The wolf and the European wildcat experienced very similar demographic scenarios in Italy, with protracted isolation south of the Alps and recurrent bottlenecks that made them sharply genetically differentiated from any other wolf or wildcat population [13,14]. Nowadays, both species are geographically re-expanding and numerically increasing trough the Peninsula, thanks to legal protection and their ecological plasticity [15,16], but they are still threatened by habitat fragmentation [16,17], accidental or illegal killings [18,19] and by anthropogenic hybridisation [20,21]. ...
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Non-invasive genetic sampling is a practical tool to monitor pivotal ecological parameters and population dynamic patterns of endangered species. It can be particularly suitable when applied to elusive carnivores such as the Apennine wolf (Canis lupus italicus) and the European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris), which can live in overlapping ecological contexts and sometimes share their habitats with their domestic free-ranging relatives, increasing the risk of anthropogenic hybridisation. In this case study, we exploited all the ecological and genetic information contained in a single biological canid faecal sample, collected in a forested area of central Italy, to detect any sign of trophic interactions between wolves and European wildcats or their domestic counterparts. Firstly, the faecal finding was morphologically examined, showing the presence of felid hair and claw fragment remains. Subsequently, total genomic DNA contained in the hair and claw samples was extracted and genotyped, through a multiple-tube approach, at canid and felid diagnostic panels of microsatellite loci. Finally, the obtained individual multilocus genotypes were analysed with reference wild and domestic canid and felid populations to assess their correct taxonomic status using Bayesian clustering procedures. Assignment analyses classified the genotype obtained from the endothelial cells present on the hair sample as a wolf with slight signals of dog ancestry, showing a qi = 0.954 (C.I. 0.780–1.000) to the wolf cluster, and the genotype obtained from the claw as a domestic cat, showing a qi = 0.996 (95% C.I. = 0.982–1.000) to the domestic cat cluster. Our results clearly show how a non-invasive multidisciplinary approach allows the cost-effective identification of both prey and predator genetic profiles and their taxonomic status, contributing to the improvement of our knowledge about feeding habits, predatory dynamics, and anthropogenic hybridisation risk in threatened species.
... Kojola et al., 2004;Nowak et al., 2011;Ję drzejewski et al., 2000;Wagner, 2012) have revealed that wolves typically predate large wild ungulates such as elk Alces alces, wapiti Cervus canadensis, reindeer Rangifer tarandus, and red deer Cervus elaphus, alongside medium sized species such as wild boar Sus scrofa, white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus and roe deer Capreolus capreolus. Of note is that consumption of livestock is generally low but is directly dependent on the abundance of wild ungulates, which are preferred as a more risk-free resource (Meriggi and Lovari, 1996;Imbert et al., 2016;Janeiro-Otero et al., 2020). Nevertheless, in some regions, seasonal resource availability, the selection of some prey types over others, and the demands of provisioning for young have allowed wolves to add berries (Homkes et al., 2020), smaller mammalian prey such as hare Lepus spp. ...
Article
The wolf (Canis lupus L., 1754) has been a major keystone predator in the Palaearctic since the late Middle Pleistocene. Today, wolves display considerable dietary plasticity over their range, characterised by their preferential consumption of large and medium-sized wild ungulates, supplemented by smaller prey, including small mammals, fish and plant foods. However, the origins of this dietary flexibility (arguably the key to the wolf's long persistence) are poorly understood in terms of responses to different drivers over the course of the Pleistocene, including changing climate, environment and competition from other large carnivores. Here, in the first study using direct palaeodietary measurements on British fossil wolves, carnivore competitors and potential prey species, we compare stable isotope (δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N) evidence from three sites representing a late Middle Pleistocene interglacial (Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage [MIS] 7c-a, c.220-190ka BP), the early Devensian (last cold stage, MIS 5a, c.90-80ka BP) and the middle Devensian (MIS 3, c. 60-25ka BP). The results reveal clear patterns of changing wolf prey choice through time. Notwithstanding issues of collagen preservation obscuring some dietary choices in the oldest samples, both small and large prey (hare, horse) were taken by wolves in the MIS 7c-a interglacial, large prey only (reindeer, bison) during MIS 5a and a broader range of large prey items (horse, woolly rhinoceros, bison) during MIS 3. The results also reveal two further important aspects: (1) that where wolves and spotted hyaenas co-existed, they occupied the same dietary niche and the former was not outcompeted by the latter, and (2) that the stable isotope evidence indicates prey choices during MIS 7c-a and MIS 3 that are not in synchrony with palaeodietary reconstructions from previous studies based on wolf cranio-dental morphology. This establishes for the first time a likely lag between changing predatory behaviour and morphological response but is interestingly not seen in the wolves from MIS 5a, where the prey choices are echoed by the cranio-dental morphology.
... This is a good perspective for Germany where sheep losses are still on the rise as the wolf recolonization is "young, " but they are expected to recede over time with the wolf population approaching its carrying capacity (Fechter and Storch, 2014) and farmers protecting their livestock and becoming more tolerant (Cretois et al., 2021). Imbert et al. (2016) also report that livestock protection and stabilization of wolf packs lead to the decline of livestock losses over time. ...
Article
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Recovery of predator populations triggers conflicts due to livestock depredation losses, particularly in Germany where the wolf (Canis lupus) population grows exponentially and livestock (especially sheep) losses raise public concerns and motivate the authorities to control wolf numbers. Yet, the effects of wolf numbers and alternative factors, such as abundance of prey and livestock, on livestock losses in this country are not investigated. In this study, we collected and analyzed data on the numbers of reproductive units of wolves (packs and pairs together) as a surrogate of adult wolf numbers, sheep killed by wolves, living sheep, red deer (Cervus elaphus), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), and wild boar (Sus scrofa) in every German state and year from 2002 to 2019. We applied a negative binomial Generalized Linear Mixed Model (GLMM) to estimate the effects of these predictors on the numbers of sheep killed by wolves. We also examined the relationships between the percentages of killed/living sheep and the numbers of living sheep. Ranking of 63 models based on the Akaike information criterion revealed that sheep losses were determined by state, year, and number of living sheep, not by wolf numbers, at high precision and accuracy. The number of sheep killed by wolves increased consistently by 41% per year and by 30% for every additional 10,000 sheep, mainly in the north where most wolf territories are concentrated. This means that sheep are protected insufficiently and/or ineffectively. The percentages of killed/living sheep consistently increased by 0.02-0.05% per state and year, with the maximum percentage of 0.7%, on a backdrop of decreasing numbers of living sheep. In conclusion, we demonstrate that sheep losses in Germany have been driven by the expansion of the wolf population, not by wolf numbers, and by the number of sheep available. We suggest that Germany's wolf conservation policy should focus on alternative non-lethal interventions, enforcement and standardization of intervention monitoring, and promotion of wolf tolerance rather than on lethal control of wolf population size.
... This supports the assertion that wolves prefer wild ungulates if they are sufficiently abundant (e.g. Imbert et al., 2016;Jedrzejewski et al., 2012;Meriggi et al., 2015). When wolves predate on horses in southern Europe, they usually target unprotected animals in open pastures (e.g. ...
Article
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We report on the first results of our efforts to generate validated data on horse-wildlife interactions in northern and eastern Germany. Data were gathered from pastures hosting horses within or nearby areas been frequented by territorial wolves. Including recommendations adressed to equestrians concerned.
... distance to forest; Treves et al., 2011), meteorological conditions (Towns et al., 2009), breed of domestic animals (Bassi et al., 2021), herd size (Dar et al., 2009), status of local carnivore populations (e.g. stability of wolf packs; Imbert et al., 2016;Santiago-Avila et al., 2018), historic presence of large carnivores in the area (Linnell, 2013), carnivores' space use (Melzheimer et al., 2020) and their habituation to human presence (Majić Skrbinšek and Krofel, 2015). Due to small sample sizes and limited availability of such information in LIFE project reports, we were not able to evaluate these factors on the effectiveness of prevention measures used in these projects. ...
Article
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Governments around the world invest considerable resources to reduce damages caused by large carnivores on human property. To use these investments more efficiently and effectively, we need to understand which interventions successfully prevent such damages and which do not. In the European Union, the LIFE program represents by far the largest financial instrument to help EU Member States with the implementation of conservation activities, including mitigation of damages caused by large carnivores. However, we currently lack information about the effectiveness of this funding program in reducing carnivore damages. We reviewed 135 LIFE projects dealing with large carnivores between 1992 and 2019 to provide an overview of the use of damage prevention methods and evaluate their functional and perceived effectiveness. Methods evaluated ranged from non-lethal and lethal interventions, to information dissemination and compensation schemes. The largest number of the projects was focused on grey wolf (Canis lupus) and brown bears (Ursus arctos) in the Mediterranean countries and in Romania. Electric fences were reported as the most successful method for reducing damages by large carnivores, and most of the non-lethal methods used showed at least moderate effectiveness. However, standards of measuring and reporting effectiveness were in general relatively low, which limits our ability to measure actual impact. We urge project managers and evaluators to improve these standards, as well as the dissemination of the project results. We provide a list of recommendations for improving measuring and reporting success of implemented interventions for the benefit of future projects aimed to reduce damages caused by wildlife.
... In Pakistan, wolves are endangered and persecution remains one of the biggest hurdles to recovery because of livestock depredation and its associated impact on livelihoods (Khan et al., 2019). Hence, public awareness, strong legal protection, supportive media coverage and furthered ecological research in Pakistan could aid in supporting the conservation of this keystone species (Imbert et al., 2016). In consideration of the lack of knowledge on wolves in Pakistan, we undertook this project to further research on these unique wolves' biology and ecology across Pakistan. ...
Article
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The gray wolf (Canis lupus) is a less studied wide-ranging endangered carnivore in Pakistan. The current investigation is the first to report their body morphometrics and chemical immobilization in Pakistan. Body morphometrics was examined for 12 wolves by measuring 15 variables. The majority of the 12 wolves had body weights that were more similar or slightly higher than the weights of Indian wolves from Central India. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) revealed that the wolves from the southern lowland region have differing morphology, independent of body size compared to the wolves from other regions of Pakistan. To record the body morphometrics, wolves were immobilized using Zoletil™-50 (Z) (n=6) and Xylazine-Ketamine hydrochloride (X-K) combination (n=3). The wolves were immobilized by using drug doses 5-6 mg/kg for Z, and 1.25 mg/kg for X and 2-3 mg/kg for K. The first sign (minutes) of anesthesia was noted after 3.15±1.9 for Z and 4.97±2.3 for X-K combination. The recumbency time was 7.7±2.5 for Z and 11.7±3 for X-K combination. The sign of recovery was recorded at 40.4±13.5 for Z and 34.1±2.4 for X-K combination, while the sedation duration was recorded at 45.3±12.5 for Z and 39.6±3.5 for X-K combination. These results suggest that Z induced quicker induction, more profound recumbency and swifter recovery than XK combination. Additionally, physiological parameters including rectal temperature, respiration, heart rate and palpebral and capillary reflexes with both combinations remained within the safe ranges.
... distance to forest; Treves et al., 2011), meteorological conditions (Towns et al., 2009), breed of domestic animals (Bassi et al., 2021), herd size (Dar et al., 2009), status of local carnivore populations (e.g. stability of wolf packs; Imbert et al., 2016;Santiago-Avila et al., 2018), historic presence of large carnivores in the area (Linnell, 2013), carnivores' space use (Melzheimer et al., 2020) and their habituation to human presence (Majić Skrbinšek and Krofel, 2015). Due to small sample sizes and limited availability of such information in LIFE project reports, we were not able to evaluate these factors on the effectiveness of prevention measures used in these projects. ...
Preprint
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Governments around the world invest considerable resources to reduce damages caused by large carnivores on human property. To use these investments more efficiently and effectively, we need to understand which interventions successfully prevent such damages and which do not. In the European Union, the LIFE program represents by far the largest financial instrument to help EU Member States with the implementation of conservation activities, including mitigation of damages caused by large carnivores. However, we currently lack information about the effectiveness of this funding program in reducing carnivore damages. We reviewed 135 LIFE projects dealing with large carnivores between 1992 and 2019 to provide an overview of the use of damage prevention methods and evaluate their functional and perceived effectiveness. Methods evaluated ranged from non-lethal and lethal interventions, to information dissemination and compensation schemes. The largest number of the projects was focused on grey wolf ( Canis lupus ) and brown bears ( Ursus arctos ) in the Mediterranean countries and in Romania. Electric fences were reported as the most successful method for reducing damages by large carnivores, and most of the non-lethal methods used showed at least moderate effectiveness. However, standards of measuring and reporting effectiveness were in general relatively low, which limits our ability to measure actual impact. Therefore we urge project managers and evaluators to improve these standards, as well as the dissemination of the project results. We provide a list of recommendations for improving measuring and reporting success of implemented interventions for the benefit of future projects aimed to reduce damages caused by wildlife. Article impact statement Electric fences were reported as the most effective method to prevent large-carnivore damages and are recommended for future use.
... As a consequence of prey density differences, a wolf's diet can vary significantly between regions and habitat types. Wolves mainly hunt elk and deer in Scandinavia and northern North America [15][16][17][18]; red deer, wild boar, roe deer and beaver in Central Europe [19][20][21]; livestock in Greece [22]; and livestock, wild boar and roe deer in Italy [23,24]. When a given species dominates in the gray wolves' diet, a decrease in its density significantly changes the composition of the wolves' diet. ...
Article
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After the emergence of African swine fever (ASF), the wild boar population numbers fell drastically in Eastern Europe. This situation made it possible to verify the changes in the wolves’ diet that occurred. The material collection was carried out in two regions, Grodno and Vitebsk, in Belarus. In total, 19 species/groups of prey were observed in the gray wolf diet, but the most important were wild boar, elk, red deer, roe deer and beaver. The decrease in the number of wild boar caused changes in the diet of wolves but only in Vitebsk region, where wolves’ diet before the ASF epidemic outbreak consisted mainly of elk and wild boar. After the decrease of wild boar numbers, wolves still mainly hunted elk, but other types of prey included roe deer, red deer and beaver. We found a negative correlation between wild boar and both deer species (roe deer and red deer) in the wolves’ diet. Moreover, the more the wolves consumed elk, the less they consumed beaver. In our opinion, only intensive hunting of wolves by humans can explain the resulting dietary fluctuations between elk and beaver, as well as the fact that wolves did not turn to other food sources.
... Bei der Nahrungswahl bestehen in dividuelle und rudelspezifische Präferenzen, die sich über die Verfügbarkeit hinaus auch maßgeblich aus positiven (leichte Beute) und negativen Erfahrungen (etwa Stromschlag an Elektrozaun) herausbilden und an Nach kommen weitergegeben werden. Wölfe kön nen prinzipiell auch lernen, relativ wehrhaf te Nutztiere wie adulte Rinder oder Pferde zu erlegen, wobei bei den großen Weidetieren viel eher Jungtiere gerissen werden (Imbert et al. 2016 (4) Um die Zaunkontrolle zu erleichtern und den Herdenschutz zu gewährleisten (etwa durch die erforderliche elektrische Spannung), ist es vorstellbar, dass die Zaun länge fallweise angepasst, also möglichst kurzgehalten wird. Dies würde zu kleineren Flächen und damit zu temporär höheren Be satzdichten und damit zu einer steigenden Beweidungsintensität führen. ...
Article
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Das bestehende europäische Recht lässt keine Bejagung der deutschen Wolfspopulation zu. Das gilt unabhängig davon, ob der Wolf im sogenannten günstigen oder noch im ungünstigen Erhaltungszustand geführt wird. Unter welchen Voraussetzungen Einzeltiere geschossen („entnommen“) werden dürfen, regelt Art. 16 der Fauna-Flora-Habitat-Richtlinie. Der günstige Erhaltungszustand ist nach der europäischen Rechtsprechung keine zwingende Voraussetzung für eine Entnahme. Entscheidend ist, dass die Entnahme die Erreichung dieses Zustandes nicht behindert. Es dürfen stets nur solche Tiere bzw. Rudel entnommen werden, die den Grundschutz (z.B. bei Netzzäunen: mindestens 90 cm Höhe, Bodenabstand maximal 20 cm, ausreichende Spannung) überwunden und dabei ernste Schäden verursacht haben. Wölfe, die ungenügend geschützte Herden angreifen, können dabei lernen, auch den Grundschutz zu überwinden. Bis letzteres eintritt, ist ihre Entnahme aber unmöglich. Aus den genannten Gründen sind auch die diskutierten „wolfsfreien“ Zonen europarechtlich untersagt. Das internationale Recht kann national auch nicht ignoriert werden, schon weil bei fortgesetzter Vertragsbrüchigkeit für Deutschland extreme Strafzahlungen fällig werden würden (konkret: ein sechsstelliger Eurobetrag pro Tag). Wie das europäische Recht umgesetzt wird, ist den EU-Mitgliedsstaaten überlassen. Ob der Wolfsschutz nun im Jagd- oder im Naturschutzrecht organisiert wird, darf keine Auswirkungen auf den Umgang mit dem Wolf haben. Die Diskussion dazu ist also ebenfalls eher eine symbolpolitische Nebelkerze.
... Bei der Nahrungswahl bestehen in dividuelle und rudelspezifische Präferenzen, die sich über die Verfügbarkeit hinaus auch maßgeblich aus positiven (leichte Beute) und negativen Erfahrungen (etwa Stromschlag an Elektrozaun) herausbilden und an Nach kommen weitergegeben werden. Wölfe kön nen prinzipiell auch lernen, relativ wehrhaf te Nutztiere wie adulte Rinder oder Pferde zu erlegen, wobei bei den großen Weidetieren viel eher Jungtiere gerissen werden (Imbert et al. 2016 (4) Um die Zaunkontrolle zu erleichtern und den Herdenschutz zu gewährleisten (etwa durch die erforderliche elektrische Spannung), ist es vorstellbar, dass die Zaun länge fallweise angepasst, also möglichst kurzgehalten wird. Dies würde zu kleineren Flächen und damit zu temporär höheren Be satzdichten und damit zu einer steigenden Beweidungsintensität führen. ...
Article
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DEUTSCH: Das derzeit exponentielle Populationswachstum des Wolfes (Canis lupus) in Deutschland erzeugt innerfachliche Zielkonflikte im praktischen Naturschutz und belastet durch eine hoch emotionale Diskussion zunehmend die Kooperation mit den Akteuren der Landwirtschaft. Der Beitrag analysiert mögliche Konsequenzen für den Biodiversitätsschutz und diskutiert Handlungsoptionen vor dem Hintergrund, dass der Wolf in den Anhängen II und IV der FFH-Richtlinie geführt wird und somit einem strengen Schutz unterliegt. Durch seine Ausbreitung droht eine partielle Aufgabe der Weidewirtschaft auf naturschutzfachlich essenziellen Standorten. Konsequenter und unbürokratisch geförderter Herdenschutz ist nur ein Teil einer umfassenden Lösung. Als weitere Bausteine werden unter anderem Änderungen im Ordnungsrecht, stringente Vorgaben für das Wolfsmanagement bei zügiger Entnahme problematischer Einzeltiere sowie eine bessere Unterstützung für Grünlandnutzungen genannt. Abschließend werden Eckpunkte für eine versachlichte Kommunikation des Themas skizziert. ENGLISH: The currently exponential population growth of the wolf (Canis lupus) in Germany has created internal trade-offs in practical nature conservation and, in a highly emotional discussion, is increasingly straining cooperation with stakeholders in agriculture. This article analyses possible consequences for biodiversity protection as well as options for action whilst taking into account that the wolf is listed in Appendices II and IV of the Habitats Directive and is therefore subject to strict protection. There is a threat of a partial abandonment of pasture farming in locations that are essential for nature conservation. More consistent and unbureaucratic promotion of herd protection is only part of a comprehensive solution. Further elements include changes in regulatory law, stringent requirements in wolf management, with the rapid removal of problematic individual animals, and better support for grassland management. The article formulates the key points for more objective communication of the topic.
... In the last decades, gray wolf (Canis lupus) populations are expanding across Europe, which leads to increased interactions with people and domestic animals (Lovari et al. 2007;Balciauskas 2008;Chapron et al. 2003Chapron et al. , 2014. This results in a variety of conflicts, including depredation of livestock, competition with hunters for game animals, and also attacks on domestic or hunting dogs (Kojola et al. 2004;Marucco and Boitani 2012;Imbert et al. 2016;Mariacher et al. 2018). Frequent human-wolf conflicts can result in decreased support for conservation among the public, which can lead to illegal killing and calls for reduction of wolf population. ...
Article
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Grey wolf (Canis lupus) populations are expanding across Europe, which leads to increase in their interactions with people and domestic animals, including dogs. Attacks on hunting dogs are becoming a major cause for conflicts between wolves and hunters in many countries, including Croatia, where this conflict has increased dramatically in recent years. To better understand the conflict and possible causes behind the attacks we conducted a survey among Croatian hunters to investigate the trends and characteristics of the attacks. A total of 103 hunting dogs were reported as attacked by wolves in 2010-2018 with significantly increasing trend. The attacks were fatal for 86% of the attacked dogs and among the dogs killed, 96% were at least partly consumed by the wolves. The most frequently attacked dogs were about three years old (47%), males (82%), weighing 10-20 kg (62%) and belonged to scent hounds and related breeds. In respect to the breed, dogs were not attacked randomly, but we observed significant selection for Tricolor Hound, while Balkan Hound, the Istrian Hound and the Posavina Hound were avoided according to availability. Majority (64%) of dogs were killed during drive hunts on wild boar and highest frequency of attacks was recorded in the Split–Dalmatia County. More dogs were attacked in counties with more livestock and fewer wild prey, but correlations were not significant. Results suggest that wolves likely perceived dogs as potential prey and indicate some of the potential measures that could be used to mitigate the conflict.
... L'autre théorie avance que le contrôle létal, en prélevant notamment les loups reproducteurs, pourrait déstabiliser, voire dissoudre les meutes et provoquer une réorganisation des territoires. Les loups en dispersion dépourvus de leurs congénères, ou ceux nouvellement arrivés sans connaissance préalable du territoire, pourraient alors se rabattre sur les troupeaux domestiques, plus repérables et plus vulnérables que les proies sauvages (Imbert et al., 2016). ...
Article
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En France, la protection des troupeaux contre les attaques de loup prévoit l’utilisation de tirs dérogatoires dans des contextes précis, notamment lorsque la pression des attaques est forte. Néanmoins, les effets de ces tirs sur les attaques restent mal connus. Nous dressons ici un état des connaissances scientifiques sur le sujet puis présentons les enjeux et le cadre méthodologique de l’étude en cours, qui s’attache à évaluer les effets des tirs dérogatoires sur les attaques et la population de loups en France.
... Echegaray and Vilà [10] found that most of the wolf feces they analyzed contained the remains of wild prey, whereas the dog feces they examined mainly contained the remains of domestic animals. Imbert et al. [92] also indicates that wolves in Liguria consume mainly wild ungulates and, to a lesser extent, livestock. In the same region, Torretta et al. [93] show that the species most consumed by wolves are wild boar and roe deer. ...
Article
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Over the last few decades, much of the mountain area in European countries has turned into potential habitat for species of medium-and large-sized mammals. Some of the occurrences that explain this trend are biodiversity protection, the creation of natural protected areas, and the abandonment of traditional agricultural activities. In recent years, wolves have once again been seen in forests in the eastern sector of the Pyrenees and the Pre-Pyrenees. The success or failure of their permanent settlement will depend on several factors, including conservation measures for the species, habitat availability, and the state of landscape connectivity. The aim of this study is to analyze the state of landscape connectivity for fragments of potential wolf habitat in Catalonia, Andorra, and on the French side of the Eastern Pyrenees. The results show that a third of the area studied constitutes potential wolf habitat and almost 90% of these spaces are of sufficient size to host stable packs. The set of potential wolf habitat fragments was also assessed using the probability of connectivity index (dPC), which analyses landscape connectivity based on graph structures. According to the graph theory, the results confirm that all the nodes or habitat fragments are directly or indirectly interconnected, thus forming a single component. Given the large availability of suitable habitat and the current state of landscape connectivity for the species, the dispersal of the wolf would be favorable if stable packs are formed. A new established population in the Pyrenees could lead to more genetic exchange between the Iberian wolf population and the rest of Europe's wolf populations.
... The negative human interactions with wildlife can also be linked to anthropogenic activities and include increased predation on livestock and/or crop damage (Mishra et al. 2016;Atickem et al. 2010). Moreover, the uneasy coexistence between humans and some predators (i.e., the gray wolf Canis lupus) in North America or Europe has created new economic impacts and social realities which also raise new ethical issues regarding the role or right of humans to the management of wildlife (Mech et al. 1996;Messmer et al. 2001;Nie 2002;Treves et al. 2003;Imbert et al. 2016). All these issues are addressed in this volume (see Sheperd 2020; Khan et al. 2020;Meriggi et al. 2020). ...
Chapter
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In the second volume of Problematic Wildlife, we explore relevant topics related to the ecology of the planet and the inevitable overlap between ecosystems, habitats, wildlife conservation, and human activities. The book is divided into six parts. The first is devoted to the species that can pose a danger to human health and safety, the second is about the urban wildlife and its related conflicts with humans, and the third is about hunting and ecotourism as possible tools for conservation. The fourth part of the book is devoted to the major problem of species extinction, while the fifth part consists in a broad collection of works about the debated role of the zoos for conservation, animal welfare, and animal rights. Finally, the last part of the book covers specific cases related to humans and herpetofauna convivence and conflicts.
... During the last decades, wolves re-entered their previous distribution area in Europe and Germany. As wolves can possibly attack livestock, this led to conflicts with stakeholders, such as shepherds [5]. In Germany, the first reproductive success of a resident pack of wolves was registered in Saxony in 2000 and the number of wolves in Germany has been growing ever since [6]. ...
Article
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Wolves (Canis lupus) were exterminated from most areas of western Europe during the last two centuries, but, during the last decades, wolves re-entered their previous distribution area in Germany. We compared secondary school students from within and outside a delineated wolf area, and analysed gender, age, and residency. A total of 254 students participated in this study (age: M = 12.63 ± 2.17). We used a measurement introduced which consisted of three parts, demographics, attitudes and knowledge. There was a significant overall effect of age, gender, and residency in attitudes toward wolves. More specifically, age was related to the subscale interest to learn, with lower interest scores related to an increasing age. Girls reported a higher level of fear. Conservation was lower within the wolf area than outside. Boys had a higher level of knowledge than girls. A higher level of knowledge was related to greater conservation, a greater interest to learn, a lower level of fear, and a lower acceptance of hunting. Hence, in order to improve students’ conservation attitudes, it would be useful to foster learning about wolves at school. Special attention should be paid to ensuring that girls also internalize the content of these lessons.
... Virtually all studies show that large carnivores derive most of their diet from wild prey (normally wild herbivores like roe deer, red deer, wild boar and moose) when they are present at medium to high density (e.g. Barja 2009;Imbert et al. 2016;Lagos & Barcena 2018;Meriggi & Lovari 1996, Odden et al. 2013Sidorovich et al. 2003) such that depredation rates on livestock normally go down (although not to zero) when densities of wild prey increase. In such situations, virtually all studies show that large carnivores do not feed on livestock in proportion to their abundance and accessibility (i.e. ...
Technical Report
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This study surveys the current status of large carnivores in Europe and assesses their impact on livestock from the available data on compensation payments and from field research. Recommendations on livestock protection measures are provided, as well as on the integration of these into locally adapted holistic management systems.
... In terms of tackling the issue of livestock depredation by grey wolves, increasing wild prey populations may result in an increase of grey wolf density, potentially increasing the likelihood of conflict (Fuller et al., 2003;Mech and Barber-Meyer, 2015). However, several studies have suggested an increase of wild ungulate selection by grey wolves over livestock as wildlife abundances recover (Imbert et al., 2016;Meriggi et al., 2014). Our data mostly support this view, so the conservation of wild herbivores is important for successful wolf conservation. ...
Article
1. Conflict between humans and large carnivores hinders carnivore conservation worldwide. Livestock depredations by large carnivores is the main cause of conflict, triggering poaching and retaliatory killings by humans. Resolving this conflict requires an understanding of the factors that cause large carnivores to select livestock over wild prey. Individual studies to date report contradictory results about whether wild prey density affects livestock depredation by large carnivores. 2. We carried out a systematic review of grey wolf (Canis lupus) dietary preferences. We reviewed and analysed 119 grey wolf dietary studies from 27 countries to determine whether wild prey or livestock density affects grey wolf dietary selection. 3. We also assessed whether there are traits that predispose species to be preyed upon (body size, group size, defence mechanisms, speed), and whether livestock management is a factor that affects selection of livestock by grey wolves. 4. Overall, wild prey (65% of the total frequency of occurrence in all reviewed grey wolf diet studies) was selected for even when livestock was abundant. The average proportion of biomass percentage in grey wolf diets was 13% for livestock and 19% for wild species. 5. Wild prey species in possession of defence mechanisms (horns, antlers, spikes, and fangs), with high body weight and present in high density were more likely to be depredated by grey wolves. 6. Even when prey abundance significantly affected selection of wild prey, livestock predation was much lower considering their substantially higher density. Areas where livestock were left to graze freely in small numbers (<20 individuals/km²) were more vulnerable to grey wolf attacks. 7. Our results suggest that the adoption of attack prevention measures on pastures and the increase of wild prey abundance could reduce depredation on livestock by grey wolves, and in turn, provide better opportunities for coexistence between humans, grey wolves and livestock.
... The process of budding involves establishing a territory that overlaps with their natal area and their mates natal area, which creates less aggression between neighbouring packs due to kin selection (Fritts andMech, 1981, Fuller 1989). This stabilisation reduces instances of lone wolves, who take the highest percentage of livestock (Imbert et al 2016). If management was being employed, dispersion could be controlled further with the implementation of other management strategies such as population zoning and an annual cull. ...
Thesis
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The following study tested the viability of managing wolf populations via the presence of managed "wolf restaurants". Wolf restaurants in this context refers to supplementary feeding of wolves in close proximity to their den or areas where wolves frequent within their territory. An individual based model was built using the Netlogo software. The model was used to computationally test this theory as it has not yet been attempted in the field. This form of management was tested in two simulated wilderness areas; a large area (3000km 2 ) and a smaller area (312km 2 ). This study found that in a large wilderness area with a stable wolf population and medium densities of wild prey, nutrition management was effective in reducing dispersion by 33% and livestock depredation by 55%. The model was then tested for a smaller wilderness area. It was discovered that when prey density was high and wolf restaurants were present, livestock depredation was reduced by 450% and movement ecology was reduced by as much as 300% compared to unmanaged wolves in the same environment. The results of this model suggest that wolf nutrition management is possible to mitigate instances of wolf-human conflicts in large wild communities, but that smaller ecological islands of wilderness with high prey density is where it has the potential to work best. The smaller simulated wilderness area emulates that which wolves are moving into throughout Europe. Wolf nutrition management can be used as a tool to enhance the success of future wolf reintroductions and re-establishments.
... The process of budding involves establishing a territory that overlaps with their natal area and their mates natal area, which creates less aggression between neighbouring packs due to kin selection (Fritts andMech, 1981, Fuller 1989). This stabilisation reduces instances of lone wolves, who take the highest percentage of livestock (Imbert et al 2016). If management was being employed, dispersion could be controlled further with the implementation of other management strategies such as population zoning and an annual cull. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
The following study tested the viability of managing wolf populations via the presence of managed "wolf restaurants". Wolf restaurants in this context refers to supplementary feeding of wolves in close proximity to their den or areas where wolves frequent within their territory. An individual based model was built using the Netlogo software. The model was used to computationally test this theory as it has not yet been attempted in the field. This form of management was tested in two simulated wilderness areas; a large area (3000km 2 ) and a smaller area (312km 2 ). This study found that in a large wilderness area with a stable wolf population and medium densities of wild prey, nutrition management was effective in reducing dispersion by 33% and livestock depredation by 55%. The model was then tested for a smaller wilderness area. It was discovered that when prey density was high and wolf restaurants were present, livestock depredation was reduced by 450% and movement ecology was reduced by as much as 300% compared to unmanaged wolves in the same environment. The results of this model suggest that wolf nutrition management is possible to mitigate instances of wolf-human conflicts in large wild communities, but that smaller ecological islands of wilderness with high prey density is where it has the potential to work best. The smaller simulated wilderness area emulates that which wolves are moving into throughout Europe. Wolf nutrition management can be used as a tool to enhance the success of future wolf reintroductions and re-establishments.
... Given that hybridization should be primarily counteracted by (i) preventive measures aimed at reducing the number of free-ranging dogs, and (ii) proactive strategies to preserve prey availability, social cohesion, structure and connectivity of wolf packs, since habitat loss, rapid pack turnovers and recent population expansions are known to favor hybridization 82 , the proposed categorization would permit to avoid management interventions on pure animals erroneously classified as admixed individuals and their negative effects on the genetic and demographic viability of small or threatened wild populations 26,47,49,50 . Moreover, this categorization would allow to better focus efforts and resources toward "operational hybrids", which carry significant portions of domestic genome ancestry and likely belong to the first generations of admixture, more efficiently than without any prioritization (e.g. ...
Article
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Anthropogenic hybridization is recognized as a major threat to the long-term survival of natural populations. While identifying F1 hybrids might be simple, the detection of older admixed individuals is far from trivial and it is still debated whether they should be targets of management. Examples of anthropogenic hybridization have been described between wolves and domestic dogs, with numerous cases detected in the Italian wolf population. After selecting appropriate wild and domestic reference populations, we used empirical and simulated 39-autosomal microsatellite genotypes, Bayesian assignment and performance analyses to develop a workflow to detect different levels of wolf x dog admixture. Membership proportions to the wild cluster (qiw) and performance indexes identified two qthresholds which allowed to efficiently classify the analysed genotypes into three assignment classes: pure (with no or negligible domestic ancestry), older admixed (with a marginal domestic ancestry) and recent admixed (with a clearly detectable domestic ancestry) animals. Based on their potential to spread domestic variants, such classes were used to define three corresponding management categories: operational pure, introgressed and operational hybrid individuals. Our multiple-criteria approach can help wildlife managers and decision makers in more efficiently targeting the available resources for the long-term conservation of species threatened by anthropogenic hybridization.
... In other circumstances, predators are killed as part of a regulated hunt and the carcass may be collected for use (e.g., bear hunting in Sweden) [42]. Illegal hunting of carnivores also takes place and is reported by various authors [43][44][45][46][47][48]. In some cases it accounts for a considerable percentage of carnivore mortality. ...
Article
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The control of predators, on land and in the sea, is a complex topic. Both marine and terrestrial mammal predators come into conflict with humans in Europe in many ways and yet their situations are rarely compared. Areas of conflict include the predation of livestock and farmed fish, and the perceived competition for wild prey (for example wolves competing with hunters for deer and seals competing with fishermen for salmon). A lethal method (shooting) and non-lethal methods of conflict reduction (including enclosures, guarding, and aversion) used for terrestrial large carnivores (e.g., bear, wolf, wolverine, lynx) and marine mammals (seals) are discussed. Control measures tend to be species- and habitat-specific, although shooting is a widely used method. Potential impacts on predator welfare are described and welfare assessments which have been developed for other wildlife control scenarios, e.g., control of introduced species, are considered for their potential use in assessing predator control. Such assessments should be applied before control methods are chosen so that decisions prioritizing animal welfare can be made. Further work needs to be carried out to achieve appropriate and widely-accepted animal welfare assessment approaches and these should be included in predator management planning. Future research should include further sharing of approaches and information between terrestrial and marine specialists to help ensure that animal welfare is prioritized.
... In the case of England an approximation of 20,000 yearly attacks have been recorded annually (Supplementary Note S1). In these same areas, evidence exists to argue the wolf to preferably attack wild animals over domestic livestock [16][17][18][19] . In response to this, the hereby proposed methodology may prove to be an important development in protecting wolf populations from this generated tension. ...
Article
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Historically wolves and humans have had a conflictive relationship which has driven the wolf to extinction in some areas across Northern America and Europe. The last decades have seen a rise of multiple government programs to protect wolf populations. Nevertheless, these programs have been controversial in rural areas, product of the predation of livestock by carnivores. As a response to such issues, governments have presented large scale economic plans to compensate the respected owners. The current issue lies in the lack of reliable techniques that can be used to detect the predator responsible for livestock predation. This has led to complications when obtaining subsidies, creating conflict between landowners and government officials. The objectives of this study therefore are to provide a new alternative approach to differentiating between tooth marks of different predators responsible for livestock predation. Here we present the use of geometric morphometrics and Machine Learning algorithms to discern between different carnivores through in depth analysis of the tooth marks they leave on bone. These results present high classification rates with up to 100% accuracy in some cases, successfully differentiating between wolves, dogs and fox tooth marks.
... As an old-world species, wolves have a long history of 60 conflict with humans due to common food such as wild preys and livestock. The most detrimental conflict for wolves 61 is probably due to depredation of livestock as even in areas with high wild ungulate abundance, wolves can prefer 62 livestock ( Imbert et al. 2016;Iliopoulos et al. 2009). This has caused extirpation of many wolf populations by Mesopotamia , is where the domestication of wild cattle ( Arbuckle et al. 2016), sheep and goats ( Naderi et al. 2008) 68 co-occurred with wolf or dog domestication in the fertile crescent (Koler-Matznick 2002). ...
Article
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The wolf (Canis lupus) is a keystone and damage-causing carnivore species around the world. Although the species is widespread in Asia, there is limited information on its ecology and interactions with the humans in this continent. This paper presents the conditions and consequences of wolf-human conflicts in Turkey between 2002 and 2017, based on data from 234 incidents compiled from the archive of national media and ISI Web of Science. Most conflicts (90.6%) were portrayed in a negative light in the news. Most incidents (64.1%) were related to domestic animals and attacks on humans (24.8%). Mostly sheep and goats were killed by wolves (79.3% attacks on domestic animals). The wolf depredation rates were significantly higher in open lands and relatively protected corrals. Attacks on livestock were likely to happen at night and those on people during the day. The presence of livestock guarding dogs did not significantly change the wolf depredation rate. There was no significant difference among years and preventive measures against the wolf damage on livestock. A total of 58 human-wolf encounters resulted in attacks on humans and caused 12 deaths and 107 injured people. Those incidents were significantly related to rabid wolves (63.8%). To prevent rabies transmission in canids and thus rabid wolf attacks, we recommend enclosing dump sites in rural areas and vaccination of canid species especially in eastern Turkey, where wild canids and feral dogs encounter more frequently. To develop effective mitigation measures, a database which will provide conflict data should be established, and further researches for effective precautions should be supported.
... To determine the adequacy of overall sample size and sample size per study area we calculated the Brillouin's index (Brillouin, 2013) for each sample, ran a bootstrap resampling for 1000 samples, and then determined sample size at which an asymptote was reached for diet diversity in the plot of H b versus increasing sample size according to the methods applied in Imbert et al. (2016). For the statistical analysis of the dietary data we used the following categories: naur, kiang, Tibetan gazelle, Tibetan argali, woolly hare, white-lipped deer, Himalayan marmot, small mammal, goat, yak/cow, horse, vegetation, stone, soil, and plastic. ...
Article
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Carnivore predation on livestock and game species leads to human-carnivore conflict. Thus, understanding the foraging ecology of threatened carnivores is important for conservation planning. We explore the summer diet of the Himalayan wolf, and of sympatric carnivores, based on the analysis of 257 field collected and genetically confirmed scat samples collected across three study areas in the Himalayas of Nepal (Humla, Dolpa, and Kanchenjunga Conservation Area) and two study areas on the Tibetan Plateau of China (Zhaqing and Namsai Township). We compared the prey species consumed to the relative availability of wild and domestic prey species. Himalayan wolves tend to select wild over domestic prey, smaller (e.g. Tibetan gazelle, Procapra picticaudata) over larger sized wild ungulates (e.g. White-lipped deer, Cervus albirostris), and plains-dwelling (Tibetan gazelle) over cliff-dwelling ungulates (naur, Pseudois nayaur). Tibetan gazelle was consistently selected for by the Himalayan wolf and smaller mammals such as Himalayan marmot (Marmota himalayana), woolly hare (Lepus oiostolus) and pikas (Ochotona spp.) are important supplementary food resources. Himalayan wolves avoided livestock which showed a seasonal high abundance, that exceeded many-fold the abundance of wild prey species during the summer study period. Given this seasonally high livestock abundance, depredation by Himalayan wolves is inevitable and a major conservation concern. Habitat encroachment and depletion of wild prey populations are important drivers of this conflict. But we found that livestock was avoided when wild prey was available, a finding that can direct conservation. We conclude that the protection of Himalayan wolves, and other sympatric carnivores can be enhanced by a) securing healthy wild prey populations (ungulates and small mammals) through setting aside wildlife habitat refuges, and b) more sustainable livestock herding including reduced livestock loads and improved herding practices and protection. Keywords: Canis lupus chanco, Conservation, Depredation conflict, Foraging ecology, Himalayan wolf, Wolf diet
... In this study we compared the effectiveness of two preservation methods, scats in 96% ethanol versus faecal swabs in ATL lysis buffer (Qiagen Inc., Hilden, Germany), for the collection and storage of wolf excremental DNA contained in fresh-looking scats sampled during non-invasive monitoring projects carried out in three habitats of the Central-Northern Apennines with different environmental conditions Canu et al., 2017;Mattioli et al., 2018;Santostasi et al., 2018). Specifically, our experiment was designed aiming to evaluate which of the two methods better performed in terms of (1) rates of amplification success and genotyping errors at 12 autosomal microsatellite loci, which are commonly used to reconstruct individual genetic profiles of non-invasively collected samples and to assign them as wolves, dogs or their hybrids Imbert et al., 2016;Fabbri et al., 2018); (2) their practicality during sampling, storage and DNA extraction steps and (3) risks and costs associated to the phases of sample collection and DNA extraction. ...
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Faecal non-invasive genetic sampling is one of the most practicable, ethical and applied tools to investigate the biology and the ecology of elusive or endangered mammal populations. However, the reliability, accuracy and effectiveness of this technique may be deeply conditioned by several factors such as climate, habitat characteristics, seasonality, sample freshness and storage conditions. In this study, we compared the practicality, efficiency, safety and cost-effectiveness of two preservation methods widely applied to collect and preserve wolf excremental DNA: scats in 96% ethanol and faecal swabs in ATL lysis buffer, to be genotyped in non-invasive monitoring projects. Forty-six wolf faecal samples were collected using both storage methods in three different areas of the Central-Northern Italy during two seasonal (cold and hot) periods and their DNAs were genotyped at 12 unlinked autosomal microsatellites through a multiple-tube approach. Genotyping performances and error rates obtained from the two methods resulted not significantly different. Nonetheless, faecal swabs showed to be more practical, safer and cost-effective than ethanol for the collection and analysis of faecal samples. Our study, though conducted on a limited sample size, suggests that faecal swabs could represent a reliable alternative tool to routinely apply in non-invasive genetic projects to monitor the presence, distribution and dynamics of populations of elusive and endangered mammal species such as the Italian wolf, still threatened by illegal poaching, hybridization and conflicts with human activities.
Article
Gray wolf Canis lupus predation on domestic dogs Canis familiaris is a considerable wolf–human conflict issue in several regions of Europe and North America but it has not been well documented in the scientific literature. Livestock depredations by wolves may be related to the abundance of wild prey. Regardless of the presumed motivations of wolves for attacking dogs (likely due to interference competition and predation), the abundance of wild prey populations may also influence the risk of wolf attacks on dogs. We examined whether the annual number of fatal attacks by wolves on dogs was related to the abundance of primary prey, including wild boar Sus scrofa and roe deer Capreolus capreolus in Estonia, as well as the abundance of moose Alces alces in Finland. Statistical models resulted in significant negative relationships, thus providing evidence that the risk of attacks in both house yards (Estonia) and hunting situations (Finland) was highest when the density of wild prey was low. Wild ungulates cause damage to agriculture and forestry, but they seem to mitigate conflicts between wolves and humans; therefore, it is necessary to develop a holistic, multispecies management approach in which the importance of wild ungulates for large carnivore conservation is addressed.
Article
Applying research results to new locations and situations can be confounded by differences in the geographic context between the original and the applied study sites. Replication studies and meta‐analyses may be similarly hindered. We investigated how often canid management research reports (e.g., journal articles, conference proceedings) included information on historical/current lethal control, alternative prey availability, landscape features, and seasonal and settlement characteristics. We included experimental research published between 1970 and 2018, focusing on livestock depredations by wolves and coyotes in North America. Reporting on contextual factors was highly variable; seasonal context was included in 83% of research findings; human settlement characteristics were reported in only 8%. Contextual information was more common in journal versus grey literature, and in reports with academic versus government‐affiliated primary authors. Discussions of the effects of contextual factors on livestock depredation mitigation strategies were underdeveloped. Yet, geographic context of research is vital; it can alter animal behaviour and reduce the efficacy of applied mitigation. We suggest reporting guidelines to improve comparisons and meta‐analysis opportunities, which may enhance comparisons and management decision making. Research context has not been reported consistently, yet it influences animal behaviour and the generalizability of results. Context details are reported more often in journal literature than in grey literature, and by academic versus government‐affiliated authors. We suggest guidelines for more consistent reporting of context. Research context has not been reported consistently, yet it influences animal behaviour and the generalizability of results. Context details are reported more often in journal literature than in grey literature, and by academic versus government‐affiliated authors. We suggest guidelines for more consistent reporting of context. L'application des résultats de la recherche sur de nouveaux territoires et à de nouvelles situations peut être faussée par les différences dans le contexte géographique. Les études de validation et les méta‐analyses peuvent également être erronées. Nous nous intéressons ici à la fréquence à laquelle les rapports de recherche sur la gestion des canidé intègrent de l'information sur le contrôle létal réel et historique, la disponibilité des proies de rechange, les particularités topographiques ainsi que les caractéristiques saisonnières et de peuplement. Cette enquête inclut les recherches expérimentales publiées entre 1970 et 2018 qui mettent l'accent sur la déprédation du bétail par les loups et les coyotes en Amérique du Nord. Selon nos analyses, le traitement des facteurs contextuels est très variable selon les études, le contexte saisonnier étant présent dans 83% des conclusions alors que les caractéristiques du peuplement humain étaient signalées dans seulement 8%. De plus, l'information contextuelle est plus fréquente dans les revues que dans la littérature parallèle de même que dans les rapports d'universitaires par rapport à ceux d'experts gouvernementaux. De manière générale, les discussions sur les effets des facteurs contextuels sur les stratégies d'atténuation de la déprédation du bétail sont peu développées. Pourtant, le contexte de la recherche est essentiel; il peut altérer le comportement animal et réduire l'efficacité de la mesure d'atténuation appliquée. Nous suggérons la mise en place de directives pour la rédaction de rapports afin d'améliorer les possibilités de comparaisons et de méta‐analyses qui soutiennent les politiques publiques.
Article
Resource selection analyses based on detection data are widely used to parametrize resistance surfaces used to identify ecological corridors. To successfully parametrize resistance, it is crucial to decouple resident and disperser behaviours yet to date connectivity studies using detection data have not addressed this issue. Here, we decoupled data of resident and dispersing wolves by analysing detection data collected within a natural corridor crossing a human dominated plain in Italy. To decouple residents and dispersers, we ran a Kernel Density analysis to investigate whether clusters of wolf detection points characterized by sharply higher points’ density exist and checked whether the areas outlined by these clusters (core areas) hold specific characteristics. Habitat selection analysis was then performed to compare the intensity of habitat selection carried out by putative residents and dispersers. We identified a high-density cluster of 30 detection points outlining a small core area stably located in the central part of the park. The dramatic differences of the R² and the AUC of the habitat selection models performed inside (R² = 0.506; AUC = 0.952) and outside (R² = 0.037; AUC = 0.643) the core area corroborated the hypothesis that the core area effectively encloses detection points belonging to residents. Our results show that through simple space use analyses it is possible to roughly discriminate between detection points belonging to resident-behaving and disperser-behaving individuals and that habitat selection models separately performed on these data have extremely different results with strong possible effects on resistance surfaces parametrized from these models.
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Human-wolf (Canis lupus) conservation conflicts in Europe have increased as wolf presence has expanded. Understanding how different stakeholders perceive coexistence, especially in locations identified as ecologically important for wolves is necessary to minimize conflict. We conducted a survey in an area of northwest Italy identified as a critical corridor linking separate, cross-boundary populations. The objective was to understand how stakeholder identities, social demographics, communication, and exposure influence the success of coexistence strategies. The study found conservationists and, significantly, hunters were most positive about wolves, while farmers were least tolerant, irrespective of exposure. Tolerance also correlated positively with higher levels of formal education and engagement with science-based knowledge. In contrast, less tolerant attitudes were influenced more by informal knowledge discourses and age. The article concludes that coexistence strategies need to be inclusive, reflexive and adapted to the specific circumstances of different stakeholder types.
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The gray wolf (Canis lupus) is one of the most conflictual mammals in Europe. Wild boar (Sus scrofa) are an essential part of gray wolf diet in central Europe, but after the emergence of African swine fever (ASF) in Europe, a sharp decline of the wild boar occurred. We examined how the wild boar population decline, due to African swine fever outbreak and mitigation efforts, affected the number of livestock killed by wolves in Poland using long-term data on wild ungulate and livestock population sizes and wolf-induced mortality between 2013 and 2019. We examined the influence of multiple factors on livestock kill rate, and the influence of wild boar population declines on the number of Cervidae killed by wolves using linear mixed models. We also explored the possibility of predicting a dramatic decrease in the wild boar population based on livestock depredation patterns. The number of livestock killed by wolves decreased with wild boar and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) population size, and increased with red deer (Cervus elaphus) population size. A decline in the wild boar population was significantly correlated with an increase in the number of both red and roe deer killed by wolves. A drastic decline of wild boar population (over 30%) could be predicted by the numbers of livestock killed by wolves. Our study confirms that large changes in the number of naturl prey can increase livestock depredation, although these changes may be difficult to detect when the fluctuations in the numbers of natural prey are smaller. In our opinion, this indicates that the assessment of factors influencing livestock depredation should consider historical changes in prey dynamics. We suggest managers and conservationists use the predator population as a 'first alert system' for indirect monitoring of prey species. In this system, a sudden increase in wolf attacks on livestock across a large area of should trigger an alarm and prompt verification of the number of natural prey in the environment.
Article
We assessed the diet of adult wolves and their pups in an area recently recolonized by the species in northwestern Poland, through the analysis of scats. Adult wolves preyed mostly on wild ungulates (94.8% of food biomass), with roe deer (45.0%) and red deer (37.8%) being the most important food sources, and occasionally on beavers (5.6%). Pups ate less ungulates (76.3%), but many more beavers (19.8%). Our study documented the importance of beavers as a food source for wolf pups in regions recolonized by the species in Central Europe, and highlighted the necessity for studies on ontogenetic changes in the wolf diet.
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The Italian wolf population in human-modified landscapes has increased greatly in the last few decades. Anthropisation increases the risk of transmission of many zoonotic infections and in this context, control of taeniid cestode species needs to be addressed from a One Health perspective. Predator-prey interactions are at the root of taeniid cestode transmission, and the wolf plays a key role in the maintenance and transmission of taeniids. To date, all available data on the taeniids of wolves in Italy refer to populations living in a wild habitat. Between 2018 and 2019, we investigated taeniids in a wolf pack living in a highly anthropic hilly agro-ecosystem. Thirty-eight faecal samples were collected and analysed, 4 of which were also genetically characterised for individual wolves and belonged to three different animals. Samples collected were analysed microscopically and by molecular analysis in order to identify the taeniid species. Taeniid eggs were detected in 34.2% (13/38) of samples. Within samples positive to taeniid eggs only Echinococcus granulosus s.s. and Taenia hydatigena were identified in 26.3% and 10.5% of the samples, respectively. On microscopic examination, Capillaria spp., Ancylostomatidae and Toxocara canis eggs, Crenosoma vulpis larvae, and coccidian oocysts were also found. The combination of low biodiversity of taeniid species with a high occurrence of E. granulosus s.s. recorded in this study could be the consequence of a deeper link occurring between wolves and livestock in human-modified landscapes than in wild settings.
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The increasing animosity towards wolves ( Canis lupus ) by livestock-keeping nomads in Mongolia and the accompanying conflicts highlight the urgent need for knowledge about the feeding behavior of wolves, since information on the feeding ecology of wolves in Mongolia is rare, especially in the mountain taiga and mountain forest steppe regions of Northern Mongolia. Those regions are characterized by a relatively high wildlife diversity and are sparsely populated by humans. To face this problem, 137 wolf scats were collected in the Khentii Mountain range in Northern Mongolia between 2008 and 2012. Almost all wolf faeces contained remnants of wild ungulates, which made up 89% of the consumed biomass. Siberian roe deer ( Capreolus pygargus ) was the most important and positively selected prey species. It was followed by red deer ( Cervus elaphus ) and wild boar ( Sus scrofa ), which was negatively selected by wolves. Wolves also fed on buffer prey species such as lagomorphs and small mammals. No evidence of domestic ungulates was found in the wolf diet. Thus, near-natural habitats with a diverse fauna of wild animals are important to limit livestock depredation.
Preprint
While large carnivores are recovering in Europe, assessing their distributions can help to predict and mitigate conflicts with human activities. Because they are highly mobile, elusive and live at very low density, modeling their distributions presents several challenges due to i) their imperfect detectability, ii) their dynamic ranges over time and iii) their monitoring at large scales consisting mainly of opportunistic data without a formal measure of the sampling effort. Not accounting for these issues can lead to flawed inference about the distribution. Here, we focused on the wolf ( Canis lupus ) that has been recolonizing France since the early 90’s. We evaluated the sampling effort a posteriori as the number of observers present per year in a cell based on their location and professional activities. We then assessed wolf range dynamics from 1993 to 2014, while accounting for species imperfect detection and time- and space-varying sampling effort using dynamic site-occupancy models. Ignoring the effect of sampling effort on species detectability led to underestimating the number of occupied sites by 50% on average. Colonization increased with increasing number of occupied sites at short and long-distances, as well as with increasing forest cover, farmland cover and mean altitude. Colonization decreased when high-altitude increased. The growth rate, defined as the number of sites newly occupied in a given year divided by the number of occupied sites in the previous year, decreased over time, from over 100% in 1994 to 5% in 2014. This suggests that wolves are expanding in France but at a rate that is slowing down. Our work shows that opportunistic data can be analyzed with species distribution models that control for imperfect detection, pending a quantification of sampling effort. Our approach has the potential for being used by decision-makers to target sites where large carnivores are likely to occur and mitigate conflicts.
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The Italian wolf (Canis lupus italicus) population has remained isolated South of the Alps for the last few thousand years. After a strong decline, the species has recolonized the Apennines and the Western Alps, while it is currently struggling to colonize the Eastern Alps. Recently, the species was detected in a lowland park connecting the Northern Apennines to the Central Alps. If the park was able to sustain a net wolf dispersal flow, this could significantly boost the connection with the Eastern Alps and the Dinaric-Balkan population. We investigated the suitability of the park as a functional ecological corridor for the wolf through the unhospitable lowland of Northern Italy. We collected wolf occurrence data in two study areas. We modeled species distribution running a separate ensemble model for each study area and then merging the output of the models to obtain an integrated suitability map. We used this map to identify corridors for the wolf adopting a factorial least-cost path and a cumulative resistant kernel approach. The connectivity models showed that only two corridors exist in the lowland areas between the Northern Apennines and the Central Alps. The Western corridor is a blind route, while the eastern corridor passes through the park and has a continuous course. However, the models also revealed a scarce resilience of corridor connectivity in the passageways between the park and the Apennines and the Prealps, which suggests that urgent management actions are necessary to ensure the future functionality of this important corridor.
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Poradnik omawia metody zabezpieczania inwentarza przed atakami wilków: psy stróżujące, ogrodzenia, pastuchy elektryczne i fladry. Prezentuje dobre praktyki gospodarskie minimalizujące zagrożenia dla inwentarza ze strony drapieżników i opisuje procedurę uzyskiwania odszkodowań. Zawiera również podstawowe informacje na temat ekologii wilka w Polsce. Publikacja przeznaczona jest zarówno dla osób zajmujących się hodowlą zwierząt gospodarskich, jak i tych, którzy skupiają się na ochronie dużych ssaków drapieżnych. Skorzystają z niej także studenci kierunków rolniczych i przyrodniczych, pracownicy ośrodków doradztwa rolniczego, regionalnych dyrekcji ochrony środowiska, parków narodowych i krajobrazowych, urzędów wojewódzkich, starostw i gmin, nadleśnictw, a także lekarze weterynarii i przyrodnicy.
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The Romanian wolf population, one of the largest in Europe, occupies a total home-range of 154500 km² and is spread across a variety of landscapes–from anthropized hills and plateaus to remote, densely forested mountains. However, this population is markedly understudied, and even basic knowledge of the species’ feeding habits is deficient. Wolf diet was assessed based on 236 scat samples collected between November 2013 and October 2014, by following pre-established transects (total length = 774 km). The study area (600 km²) is a multi-prey ecosystem in the southern sector of the Eastern Romanian Carpathians. Our results emphasize that more than 80% of the wolf diet is based on wild ungulates. The wild boar is clearly selected (D = 0.74) and is the most common species in the diet (Bio = 72%), while roe deer (Bio = 10%) and red deer (Bio = 5%) have a smaller contribution. Domestic species represented the second-largest prey category in both seasons. Among them, dog is a particularly important source of food (Bio 3.5–10.9%). Other domestic species (goat, sheep, horse) have marginal importance in the wolf diet and seasonal occurrence. Standardized niche breadths are low in both seasons (BAw = 0.07, BAs = 0.12), and a high degree of overlap in the resources used has been observed (Ôws = 0.99). Our study represents the first step towards understanding the wolf foraging behaviour in the Romanian Carpathians and is valuable to address the complex issues of wolf and wild ungulate population management and conservation.
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Habitat use and diet of wolves Canis lupus were examined in a mountainous area in the northern Apennines (northern Italy) from December 1987 to March 1989. Wolf signs were looked for along 22 transects representative of the different habitat types of the study area in order to define seasonal differences in habitat use. Scats were collected and analysed to identify the main food items used by wolves in each season. Changes in range surface area were recorded in different seasons in relation to food availability and territoriality of the wolves.
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A major challenge in carnivore conservation worldwide is identifying priority human–carnivore conflict sites where mitigation efforts would be most effective. Spatial predation risk modeling recently emerged as a tool for predicting and mapping hotspots of livestock depredation using locations where carnivores attacked livestock in the past. This literature review evaluates the approaches and applications of spatial risk modeling for reducing human–carnivore conflict and presents a workflow to help conservation practitioners use this tool. Over the past decade 18 studies were published, most which examined canid and felid (10 and 8 studies on each group, respectively) depredation on cattle (14) and sheep (12). Studies employed correlation modeling, spatial association and/or spatial interpolation to identify high-risk landscape features, and many (but not all) validated models with independent data. The landscape features associated with carnivore attacks related to the species (carnivore and prey), environment, human infrastructure and management interventions. Risk maps from most studies (14) were used to help livestock owners and managers identify top-priority areas for implementing carnivore deterrents, with some efforts achieving >90 % reductions in attacks. Only one study affected policy, highlighting a gap where risk maps could be useful for more clearly communicating information to assist policymakers with large-scale decisions on conflict. Studies were used to develop a six-step workflow on integrating risk modeling into conservation. This review reveals a need for future predation risk modeling to focus more on validating models, accounting for feedbacks and impacting conflict-related policy in order to reliably improve the mitigation of human–carnivore conflict globally.
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The Casentinesi Forests, in the northern Apennines, harbour a rich community of wild ungulates, with the wolf representing the largest predator in the area. Between 1993 and 2000, wolf pack distribution in the area was monitored and estimates of pack size were obtained by wolf-howling surveys, snow-tracking, and occasional observations. Three to five packs were detected yearly, with sizes averaging 4.2 � 0.9 wolves (maximum 7). The overall density in the area was 4.7 wolves per 100 km 2 with an average distance between adjacent packs of 11.1 km. The high wolf density in the Casentinesi Forests is mostly related to abundance and size of wild prey. In this, like in other areas at low latitudes, wolf density depends mainly on the number of packs, as pack size is rather small and recruitment limited by early dispersal and high mortality. Three homesites used in several years by resident packs were discovered. Homesite fidelity and pack reproductive success were higher in fully protected rather than harvested areas. Establishing a network of protected areas with high ungulate diversity and abundance is proposed as the main factor for allowing a full recovery of the wolf population in Italy. 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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