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1 February 2000 PREY SELECTION AND PREDATION BY WOLVES IN BIAŁOWIEŻA PRIMEVAL FOREST, POLAND
WŁodzimierz Jȩdrzejewski, BogumiŁa Jȩdrzejewska, Henryk Okarma, Krzysztof Schmidt, Karol Zub, Marco Musiani
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Abstract

Relationships of wolves (Canis lupus) and ungulates were studied in the Polish part of Białowieża Primeval Forest with high densities of prey. The number of wolves ranged from 7 to 19, and the number of packs ranged from 2 to 4. Average densities were 2.3 wolves/100 km2. Red deer (Cervus elaphus) was the main prey of wolves. Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), wild boar (Sus scrofa), moose (Alces alces), and European bison (Bison bonasus) were hunted less than expected based on their abundance. Mean mass of ungulates killed by wolves was 55 kg. Prey were consumed quickly, with 57% of kills completely eaten on the 1st day after killing. Average killing rate by wolves was 0.78 ungulate per wolf pack per day (0.14 prey item per wolf per day). Results of this study combined with the data obtained in the Belarussian part of Białowieża Primeval Forest in 1946–1985 allowed for analysis of dietary response of wolves to changes in densities of ungulates. Wolves showed a response to abundance of red deer. The amount of other ungulates in their diet depended on the densities of red deer. From 1991 to 1996, wolves annually removed 57–105 red deer, 19–38 wild boar, 19–25 roe deer, and 0–2 moose per 100 km2. Those amounts were equivalent to 9–13% of spring–summer densities of red deer, 4–8% of wild boar, 3–4% of roe deer, and 0–29% of moose. Additionally, hunters annually harvested 131–140 red deer, 44–114 roe deer, 1–7 moose, and 45–142 wild boar per 100 km2. Effects of predation and harvest by hunters on ungulate mortality were likely additive and caused declines in ungulate populations during our study.

WŁodzimierz Jȩdrzejewski, BogumiŁa Jȩdrzejewska, Henryk Okarma, Krzysztof Schmidt, Karol Zub, and Marco Musiani "PREY SELECTION AND PREDATION BY WOLVES IN BIAŁOWIEŻA PRIMEVAL FOREST, POLAND," Journal of Mammalogy 81(1), 197-212, (1 February 2000). https://doi.org/10.1644/1545-1542(2000)081<0197:PSAPBW>2.0.CO;2
Accepted: 17 March 1999; Published: 1 February 2000
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