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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effects of wolf predation threat on habitat use, activity, diets and resource impacts of wild and domestic ungulates

Authors
item Clark, Patrick
item Johnson, Douglas - OSU
item Kniep, Mark - MICRON TECH

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 31, 2006
Publication Date: February 9, 2007
Citation: Clark, P., Johnson, D.E., Kniep, M. 2007. Effects of wolf predation threat on habitat use, activity, diets and resource impacts of wild and domestic ungulates. In: Abstracts of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Society for Range Management. February 9-16, 2007. Reno-Sparks, Nevada CD-ROM Abstract #414.

Interpretive Summary: Since reintroduction in 1995, gray wolf populations in the Northern Rocky Mountains have increased dramatically. The effects of recolonizing wolves, however, on the competitive interactions and resource impacts of wild and domestic ungulates in this region are poorly understood. ARS scientists and research cooperators are evaluating whether habitat use, activity patterns, dietary overlap, and riparian and water quality impacts of cattle, elk, and mule deer are occurring in response to increased predation pressure by expanding wolf populations in the Pioneer and White Knob Mountains of central Idaho. This research will provide livestock producers and natural resource managers with an understanding of how the presence of gray wolves may alter ungulate behavior and consequent ungulate impacts on riparian systems and stream water quality.

Technical Abstract: Since reintroduction in 1995, gray wolf populations in the Northern Rocky Mountains have increased dramatically. In 2005, there were 512 wolves living in Idaho (up from 422 in 2004), 256 in Montana (up from 153 in 2004), and 252 in Wyoming. The effects of recolonizing wolves, however, on the competitive interactions and resource impacts of wild and domestic ungulates in this region are poorly understood. The purpose of this research project is to determine whether changes in habitat use, activity patterns, dietary overlap, and riparian and water quality impacts of cattle, elk, and mule deer are occurring in response to increased predation pressure by expanding wolf populations in the Pioneer and White Knob Mountains of central Idaho. Interspecific similarities in habitat use and activity patterns as well as predator-prey interactions are being determined using a real-time GPS animal tracking system. Dietary overlap is being identified based on analysis of plant utilization at foraging sites. Impacts on riparian vegetation and E. coli levels in stream water are being assessed at random sites and at sites identified as receiving specific intensity levels of use. Competition and resource impact responses will be compared to changes in local wolf population levels and frequency of wolf-prey encounters over a 10-year minimum project lifetime.:

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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