Advertisement

Beaver: A New Prey of Wolves in Latvia?

Comparison of Winter and Summer Diet of Canis lupus Linnaeus, 1758
  • Žanete Andersone

Abstract

The number of wolves in Latvia increased from 230 in 1985 to 997 in 1997. At the same time the population of wild ungulates declined significantly. The aim of this study was to examine the food habits of wolves in different seasons and to determine the ratio of wild ungulates in the diet. It is of special interest because no such study has ever been conducted in Latvia. Forty-one scats and 13 stomachs of hunted wolves were collected in the winter and summer of 1997. Scat analysis followed standard procedures. Microscopic analysis of hair was used to identify mammal species. Cervids (elk, red deer, roe deer) were not specified separately. Occurrence of particular food items (F%) and biomass of the prey consumed (B%) were calculated. In winter, the wolf diet consisted mostly of cervids (ca. 60%), wild boar, and livestock consumed as carrion. In summer, the ratio of cervids in scats was lower (48.5 F% and 31.4 B%) than it was in winter due to a more variable food content. Based on biomass beaver was the most important food item in summer (30.3 F% and 36.1 B%), followed by cervids, and wild boar (18.2 F% and 30.1 B%). Other food items (small mammals, birds, berries etc.) were of little importance. Thus, wild ungulates are the basic food for the Latvian wolf population in the both seasons. However, the sudden increase of beaver in the summer diet suggests switching by wolves to a more available prey during the depression of the ungulate populations.

Keywords

Wild Boar Stomach Content Analysis Wild Ungulate Wolf Population Important Food Item 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Andersone, Ž., 1998, Summer Nutrition of the Wolf (Canis lupus) in the Nature Reserve Slitere, Latvia, Proc. Latvian Acad. Sci., Section B, 52:1–2.Google Scholar
  2. Balodis, M, 1990, [The Beaver. Biology and Management in Latvia], Zinátne, Riga, p. 271. [In Russian with English summary]Google Scholar
  3. Balodis, M., 1994, Beaver Population of Latvia: History, Development and Management, Proc. Latvian Acad. Sci., Section B, 7/8: 122–127.Google Scholar
  4. Ballard, W. B., Whitman, J. S., and Gardner, C. L., 1987, Ecology of an exploited wolf population in south-central Alaska, Wildlife Monographs, 98:p. 54.Google Scholar
  5. Bibikov, D. I. (ed.), 1985, [The Wolf History, Systematics,Morphology, Ecology], lzd. Nauka, Moskva: p. 606. [In Russian]Google Scholar
  6. Day, M. G., 1966,Identification of hair and feather remains in the gut and faeces of stoats and weasels, J. Zool., 148:201–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Floyd, T. J., Mech, L. D., and Jordan, P.A., 1978, Relating wolf scat content to prey consumed, J. of Wildl. Manage., 42 (3): 528–532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Goszczynski, J. 1974. Studies on the Food of Foxes. Acta theriol., 19 (1): 1–18.Google Scholar
  9. Jedrzejewski, W., Jedrzejewska, B., Okarma, H., and Ruprecht, A. L., 1992, Wolf predation and snow cover as mortality factors in the ungulate community of the Bialowieza National Park, Poland, Oecologia, 90:2736.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kalninš, A.,1943 [Huntsmanship], Latvju gramata, Riga, p. 704. [In Latvian] Okarma, H., 1995, The trophic ecology of wolves and their predatory role in ungulate communities of forest ecosystems in Europe, Acta theriol., 40 (4): 335–386.Google Scholar
  11. Ozolins, J., and Pildts, V., 1995, Distribution and status of small and medium-sized carnivores in Latvia, Ann. Zool. Fennici, 32:21–29.Google Scholar
  12. Reynolds, J. C., and Aebischer, N. J., 1991, Comparison and quantification of carnivore diet by faecal analysis: a critique, with recommendations, based on a study of the Fox Vulpes vulpes, Mammal. Rev., 21 (3): 97–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. TauriiI, E., 1982, [Mammals of Latvia], Zvaigzne, Riga, p. 256. [In Latvian] Google Scholar
  14. Teerink, B. J., 1991, Hairs of West European Mammals, Cambridge University Press, Great Britain.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Žanete Andersone
    • 1
  1. 1.Ķemeri National Park“Meža māja” Ķemeri-JūrmalaLatvia

Personalised recommendations