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Limits to plasticity in Gray Wolf, Canis lupus, pack structure: Conservation implications for recovering populations


, : Limits to plasticity in Gray Wolf, Canis lupus, pack structure: Conservation implications for recovering populations. Canadian Field-Naturalist 117(3): 419-423, July

We documented the dynamics of the Five Corners Pack (FCP) in east-central Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin through the loss and replacement of four alpha-females over a four-year period. This pack remained intact and produced offspring during the period despite the annual loss of the alpha female. However, we observed a disintegration of the pack after four consecutive alpha females died, at least two of which were due to illegal killing by humans. Our observations generally support the hypothesis that "single-parent" wolf packs may be more prevalent in areas with low densities of wolves and high densities of ungulate prey. Our observations also highlight the need to assess the potential negative impacts of wolf removal on pack structure and persistence at local and regional scales.

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