Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

GPS study shows wolves more reliant on a cattle diet

Date:
March 29, 2011
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
Cattle ranchers in southwestern Alberta have suspected it for a long time, and now GPS tracking equipment confirms it: wolf packs in the area are making cow meat a substantial part of their diets.

Cattle ranchers in southwestern Alberta have suspected it for a long time and now, GPS tracking equipment confirms it: wolf packs in the area are making cow meat a substantial part of their diets.

Related Articles


University of Alberta researchers tracked wolves to bone yards, where ranchers dispose of dead cattle, and to sites of fresh cow kills. The study was done over two grazing seasons in 2008 and 2009. The vast study area in southwestern Alberta includes private ranchland and wooded public lands bordering the Rocky Mountains.

Researchers found that during the summer months when livestock was set out to graze on public lands, cattle made up to 45 per cent of the diet for the three wolf packs in the study. This shows a seasonal switch from the wolf's usual pattern of wild prey in the non-grazing season to cattle in the grazing season.

Four wolves in three different packs were outfitted with radio collars that included a standard tracking beacon and a device that collected and saved detailed GPS location data.

When the researchers used the radio signals to locate the general area of the collared wolf, the detailed, hour-by-hour GPS data showing the wolf's movements was uploaded into a handheld device.

The researchers looked for GPS clusters, the locations on the map where the wolves spent a lot of time and went to a total 698 sites where the wolves had gathered. The fieldwork turned up locations where 50 cows were killed.

Researchers calculated that, during the winter months, 85 per cent of the wolves' scavenged (already dead animals) feeding events were at bone yards located on land belonging to ranchers. The researchers noted that often the bone yards were located within a few hundred metres of grazing cattle. The ease of feeding at bone yards can also attract other predators such as grizzly bears and cougars.

Lead U of A researcher Andrea Morehouse says the most alarming element of the research is that almost 50 per cent of the wolf packs' summer diet was cattle meat. The researchers say this shows the need for management plans in the study area in order to reduce the opportunities for wolves to prey on cattle.

The research was published online March 24 in Frontiers in Ecology and Environment.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrea T Morehouse, Mark S Boyce. From venison to beef: seasonal changes in wolf diet composition in a livestock grazing landscape. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2011; 110324084539019 DOI: 10.1890/100172

Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "GPS study shows wolves more reliant on a cattle diet." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110328131304.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2011, March 29). GPS study shows wolves more reliant on a cattle diet. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110328131304.htm
University of Alberta. "GPS study shows wolves more reliant on a cattle diet." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110328131304.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins