The process of a wolf pack splitting in Białowieża Primeval Forest, Poland
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In 1998, the pack of 7 wolvesCanis lupus Linnaeus, 1758, radio-tracked in Białowieża Primeval Forest, East Poland, split into 2 packs (2 and 5 wolves), when an 8-year-old alpha female ceased breeding. The two sister-packs subdivided their original territory, but their ranges overlapped extensively (49%) for one year after the split, except for May-June, when both new packs reared pups. We propose that food related factors could have been the ultimate cause of splitting of a large pack. In European temperate forests, pack size of 5–6 wolves is optimal for the consumption of the red deerCervus elaphus.
Key-wordsCanis lupus home ranges pack size pack splitting prey size
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